Montana Antelope and Mule Deer Numbers Suffer From Harsh Winter

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Montana is unsure how many antelope and mule deer permits will be issued, and are also letting hunters know there will be slim pickings. Eastern Montana's winter was detrimental to the antelope and mule deer populations. This past winter the Glasgow area had 108 inches of snowfall, beating their previous record of 70 inches. They are waiting for final numbers in July. The draw for antelope licenses is July 15th. Some areas may not have the license reductions that Eastern Montana will have. Spring survey flights confirmed that about 1,000 antelope, crowded along railroad tracks, were killed by trains over the winter, from Antelope tried to survive by eating hay, which proved fatal for some of them as well. Others were hit by cars, or starved to death from lack of food in the high snow.

However, with the plentiful precipitation the antelope and deer that did make it through the winter will have wonderful grazing opportunities.


hunter25's picture

Hopefully there will be some

Hopefully there will be some relief over tghe next couple of winters do the game herds can rebuild quickly. There have been several bad ones now and they have really taken a toll in some areas. They are saying on the news that most of Colorado is over 200% of normal for snowfall this year but fortunately it did not come in places or times that would severely hurt the herds. In my area I had considered it a average to light winter other than some very late snows even this last week.

Fortunately I am not planning a hunt in Montana this year but it was a consideration for next year. It might not be a bad idea to wait a couple to see what happens. Of course if I did get lucky and draw I'm sure it would work out all right anyway.

ndemiter's picture

a long spring and heavy

a long spring and heavy winter percipitation in the prairie should make the hunting fair this fall. at least the antelope that are left should be easy to find.

with as much "record" weather as we've had all over the country i'm surpirsed there's any wildlife left.

babe winkelman wrote about this a long time ago (before the mule deer initiative, before oil production limitations and during the wind energy exploration craze) at if you want to check it out. from time to time i like to read up on what is going on all over the hunting world.

i was definately interested to see what other people were saying in 2009 when i read an article in the Casper, wy newspaper about serious declines in mule deer populations over the previous decade. i'm starting to come to the idea that the early 90's happened to be a good time for game. there must have been good percipitaion and warmer winters during that time... hmmm. what was going on in the world during the 90's? this was going on in the 90's -El Nino!!!

from what i've read about the El Nino currents, there are two types and there are valious degrees of strength behind them. if we were to have a strong warming El Nino current like we had in the 90's (and one is predicted for this year) that may alleviate some of the stress on the game, engouraging inception and birth rates, forage for the winter time and decreasing winter kill.

who knows? but i'd like to explore this in a little detail sometime.