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Hunting Season Ends with Modest Harvest in Northwest Montana

Hunting - Region 1

Monday, December 02, 2019

Kalispell, MT — The general big game hunting season concluded last weekend across Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks tallied more than 14,000 hunters at its five check stations across Region 1 (northwest Montana) this season. Those hunters reported 1,022 white-tailed deer, including 816 bucks, as well as 105 mule deer and 56 elk.

Despite fewer hunters than years’ past, the overall number of harvested deer was up over last year in the region. The percentage of hunters with harvested game increased over last year at U.S. Highway 2, Swan, Olney and Canoe Gulch (Libby) check stations.

Check stations are open on weekends during hunting season and only sample a small portion of hunter participation and harvests across the region. They help biologists track monitoring trends and record information on wildlife age, health and other observations from the field. Hunter-harvest telephone surveys, conducted over the upcoming winter months, will provide more harvest data and information.

Hunting season structures and hunting district boundaries are adopted for most game species every other year between December and final adoptions in February. The biennial season setting process is underway this year, and the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will review tentative proposals and vote whether to open those proposals for public comment at its Dec. 5 meeting in Helena.

In Region 1, FWP is proposing hunting district boundary changes in the Flathead and Swan Valleys (Hunting Districts 130, 132, 140 and 170) and the Bob Marshall (combine Hunting Districts 150 and 151), adding an over-the-counter 199-00 either-sex whitetail B license for the Libby Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone (portions of Hunting Districts 100, 103, and 104) to reduce deer densities, and changing the mountain lion special licenses.

With Commission approval, FWP Region 1 will hold public meetings to seek input on the proposed changes in January. The meetings are scheduled for Jan. 3 in Kalispell (FWP Region 1 Headquarters), Jan. 8 in Trout Creek (Lakeside Resort), Jan. 10 in Libby (K.W. Maki Theater), and Jan. 16 in Eureka (Lincoln Electric Cooperative). All meetings will start at 6 p.m. except Eureka, which will start at 7 p.m.

FWP REGION 1 CHECK STATION SUMMARY

Through Sixth Weekend, December 1, 2019

STATION

NUMBER

HUNTERS

WHITE-TAILED

DEER

 

WT

Bucks

MULE

DEER

ELK

%

HUNTERS

WITH GAME

 

2019

2018

2019

2018

2019

2018

2019

2018

2019

2018

2019

2018

 

Hwy 2

 

5,848

6,020

403

379

330

262

39

48

19

14

7.9

7.3

 

Swan

 

2,035

2,391

167

181

146

130

2

1

3

3

8.5

7.7

 

Thompson

Falls

1,726

1,722

91

102

69

70

11

17

15

25

6.8

8.4

 

Olney

 

2,607

2,611

264

243

210

180

17

16

7

6

11.0

10.1

 

Canoe Gulch

 

1,842

1,871

97

45

61

34

36

18

12

10

7.9

3.9

 

Totals

 

14,058

14,615

1,022

950

816

676

105

100

56

58

8.4

7.6

 

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

Through Sixth Weekend, December 1, 2019

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

2019

14,058

1,022

816

105

56