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Strong Opening Weekend for Hunters in West-Central Montana

Hunting - Region 2

Mon Oct 23 10:42:25 MDT 2017

Montana’s general big game hunting season opened on Saturday, and in the west-central part of the state, hunter check stations reports show the highest number of big game animals harvested on opening weekend since 2010.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) reported 117 elk, 111 white-tailed deer, 15 mule deer and five black bears at its Darby, Anaconda and Bonner check stations combined, where the tradition of inspecting harvested animals goes back as far as the 1940s. 

“The check stations only sample a relatively small portion of the hunting effort and harvests across the region, and they don’t tell the whole story by any means,” said Mike Thompson, FWP Region 2 Wildlife Manager. “But, check stations do a good job of showing us trends over time, and the opening weekend numbers tell us that the hunting season is off to a stronger start than we’ve seen in a while.”

The number of white-tailed deer checked on opening weekend was the highest since 2006, while the number of elk checked was the highest since 2012.

All three check stations saw upticks in opening weekend elk harvest compared with last year.  White-tailed deer harvest checked at Bonner accounted for 85% of the whitetail harvest tallied in the region.

Check stations are in important part of monitoring harvest trends and recording information on wildlife age, health and other observations from the field. Hunters must stop at all check stations that they pass, even if they have not harvested any animals.  The general rifle season for deer and elk runs through Sunday, Nov. 26.

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