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Big Game Hunting Season Ends Slightly Below Average in Northwest Montana

Hunting - Region 1

Mon Nov 26 14:41:56 MST 2018

Kalispell, MT — Montana’s general big game hunting season ended Nov. 25, 2018.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ five check stations in Region 1 (northwest Montana) tallied a combined total of 950 white-tailed deer, including 676 bucks, this season. That is down from recent years. There were 100 mule deer checked this season, which is nearly twice as many as last season. The number of checked elk – 58 – was 20 fewer than a year ago. The total number of hunters checked – 14,615 – was also down from recent years.

Several factors worked to hunters’ disadvantage this season, including unseasonably warm weather and poor tracking conditions throughout the past month and the season ending before the peak of the deer rut. Wildlife biologists also attribute back-to-back harsh winters that appeared to have had an impact on local herds in parts of the region. Harvest numbers this season are similar to the aftermath of the 1996-97 winter.

The overall percentage of hunters with game that drove through a check station was 7.6 percent compared to 8.6 percent a year ago. Overall hunter success is higher and is not estimated until spring. The counts at the hunter check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.

FWP will gain more complete game harvest information with its annual telephone surveys with hunters this winter and spring. Telephone interviewers call mid-week evenings and weekends to speak to hunters one-on-one to get the most accurate information possible. Results from the statewide survey are used by wildlife managers to evaluate past hunting seasons and to help set permit quotas, season dates, and other regulations for future years.

The general hunting season for wolves continues through March 15, 2019. The wolf trapping season runs Dec. 15-Feb. 28.

Anyone who sets traps for wolves is required to take a free one-time certification and education course in Montana. FWP is holding a wolf trapper certification course on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at its Region 1 headquarters in Kalispell. In addition to specifics on equipment and techniques, participants will learn about the history, ethics, management, regulations, and requirements of wolves and wolf trapping. The class will be taught in a rotating-station format and will include outdoor stations. To register, visit fwp.mt.gov/education/hunter and click the tab labeled, “Wolf Trapper Education & Certification.”

  • This year there are new regulations and carcass transport restrictions surrounding the threat of chronic wasting disease (CWD). FWP has established CWD positive areas and transport restriction zones (TRZ) in parts of the state where the disease was found. To prevent the spread of CWD, no brain or spinal column material from animals taken in positive areas are allowed outside the transport restriction zones. For information about positive areas and TRZs, visit fwp.mt.gov.
  • Properly dispose of carcasses. Once an animal with CWD dies, any part of the carcass can transmit the disease for at least two years. Safely dispose of all animal parts in solid waste landfills to help keep our local herds clean of CWD.

 

REGION 1 CHECK STATION SUMMARY

Through Sixth Weekend, November 25, 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

 

6,020

7,100

379

494

262

343

48

15

14

28

7.3

7.6

 

Swan

 

2,391

2,404

181

242

130

184

1

3

3

5

7.7

10.4

 

Thompson

Falls

1,722

1,675

102

131

70

75

17

5

25

30

8.4

9.9

 

Olney

 

2,611

2,911

243

324

180

257

16

3

6

5

10.1

11.4

 

Canoe Gulch

 

1,871

2,179

45

84

34

66

18

25

10

10

3.9

5.5

 

Totals

 

14,615

16,269

950

1,275

676

925

100

51

58

78

7.6

8.6

  

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

Through Sixth Weekend, November 25, 2018

Year

Hunter #s

Total WTD

WT Bucks

Mule Deer

Elk

2010

16,018

984

828

136

151

2011

17,244

882

731

96

118

2012

16,550

917

807

123

75

2013

17,212

1,081

959

114

56

2014

15,643

1,100

956

130

49

2015

17,363

1,233

1,019

120

84

2016

16,453

1,449

1,035

138

69

2017

16,269

1,275

925

51

78

2018

14,615

950

676

100

58