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General Hunting Season Begins Across Montana

Hunting - Region 1

Monday, October 22, 2018

Kalispell, MT — Hunters took to the field Saturday and Sunday across northwest Montana for the opening weekend of the general deer and elk season. Amid unseasonably warm temperatures, harvest rates were down at four of the five check stations in Region 1. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff checked 2,632 hunters, 150 white-tailed deer, 10 mule deer and 19 elk for a harvest rate of 6.8 percent.

According to FWP Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson, warm weather made for challenging hunting conditions.

“We didn’t expect success rates to be high this weekend with temps reaching the mid to upper 60’s. The number of hunters visiting check stations was also down this weekend,” Anderson said. “I am surprised that the overall whitetail harvest was this low, but there is plenty of season remaining. We expect these numbers to go up as the season progresses and moisture and colder temperatures move into the area.”

The Olney check station saw the highest harvest rate with 13.6 percent of the hunters harvesting deer. Mule deer buck harvest was up from last year across the region and elk harvest was slightly down.

The counts at the hunter check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.

Hunters are required to stop at game check stations they encounter, even if they have not harvested an animal. The general rifle season for deer and elk runs through Sunday, Nov. 25.

Hunters are reminded that the ability to harvest antlerless whitetail on a general license ends this Friday, Oct. 26, except for hunters under the age of 15 and for people who have a permit to hunt from a vehicle. Hunters are also reminded that mule deer buck hunting in the North Fisher portion of Hunting District 103 near Libby is permit-only.

Elk hunting is brow-tined bull only in Region 1. Spike elk are not legal game.

Hunters are encouraged to check the Montana hunting regulations for the district you plan to hunt before hitting the field.

Hunters are reminded to “Be Bear Aware” and properly store food and manage carcasses. More safety information is available on the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website, fwp.mt.gov. Residents can call Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office for more information. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.

REGION 1 CHECK STATION SUMMARY

OPENING Weekend - October 20 & 21, 2018

STATION

NUMBER

HUNTERS

WHITE-TAILED

DEER

 

WT

Bucks

MULE

DEER

ELK

%

HUNTERS

WITH GAME

 

2018

2017

2018

2017

2018

2017

2018

2017

2018

2017

2018

2017

 

Hwy 2

 

1,294

1,429

73

119

23

56

3

3

7

10

6.4

9.2

 

Swan

 

358

382

24

56

11

25

0

0

0

2

6.7

15.2

 

Thompson

Falls

320

320

9

21

4

6

3

0

7

7

5.9

8.8

 

Olney

 

309

528

39

61

18

31

1

1

2

0

13.6

11.7

 

Canoe Gulch

 

351

382

5

21

1

11

3

0

3

3

3.1

6.3

 

Totals

 

2,632

3,041

150

278

57

129

10

4

19

22

6.8

10.0

 

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

OPENING Weekend - October 20 & 21, 2018

Year

Hunter #s

Total WTD

WT Bucks

Mule Deer

Elk

2010

2,855

120

84

24

29

2011

2,921

110

81

14

22

2012

2,691

129

105

11

18

2013

2,697

79

63

15

17

2014

2,946

149

123

33

10

2015

2,996

152

101

17

23

2016

3,138

342

157

26

31

2017

3,041

278

129

4

22

2018

2,632

150

57

10

19