Deer, Elk Harvest Finishes Behind Last Year in Northwest Montana

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Whitetail deer harvest picked up during the last two weekends of the deer and elk hunting season but still finished behind last year’s totals.

According to FWP Wildlife Manager Jim Williams, the number of whitetail deer, mule deer, and elk checked were down from last year. “The results at our check stations are an indication that deer and elk populations are still down throughout northwest Montana. We’ll know the details of total harvest for each hunting district after the telephone hunter surveys are completed this spring.”

At the six northwest Montana check stations through Sunday, November 27, a total of 18,611 hunters checked 911 white-tailed deer (753 of these were bucks), 103 mule deer, and 121 elk for a 6.1 percent rate of hunters with game. The counts at the six northwest Montana check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.

Hunters checked 15 percent fewer whitetail bucks, 35 percent fewer mule deer, and 23 percent fewer elk as compared to last year.

Wolf harvest: Hunters in northwest Montana have taken 44 wolves, 62 percent of the total quota of 71. No individual wolf hunting district has yet closed. The wolf hunting season continues until December 31, with a proposed extension to January 31. Hunters can still purchase a wolf hunting license, but there is a 5-day waiting period before it is valid.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

The Montana harvest numbers

The Montana harvest numbers coming out are really screwy right now.  First, if I recall, a month or so ago they were talking about low hunter turnout, and extra tags available.  Then last week, there was an article about hunter numbers and success rates being up, and now, they are down significantly in part of the state.  Make up your minds, would ya Montana?

I think it probably has to do with winterkill, but also, the decision to drastically increase the cost of the out of state tags.  That, along with the economy, meant fewer hunters there, which translates into fewer animals checked in.  Seems pretty straight forward to me.

Whatever the reason though, hopefully they can come up with a solution to increase both the number of hunters, and the success rates for next year.

Retired2hunt's picture

  15%, 35%, and 23% decreases


15%, 35%, and 23% decreases in checked animals for these same check stations as compared to last year are definitely substantial drops in harvests... but I don't think we can just simply use these numbers to reflect the overall harvest for the area and for the state.  The article states as well that this was just a sampling and doesn't represent the entire picture.  While the weather played a role in animal kill-off as well as the hunting season, I think the spring final results will obviously reflect the true picture.  With articles like this I would rather see comparison's to the other geographic check station sampling that ocurred as well.  We would get a better picture - still not the entire picture - and see where maybe increased harvests ocurred that make up for this one report.  This article comes off as get ready for gloom and doom.

The bright spot here is that the wolf harvest continues and there are still licenses available with the season having a possible extension to fill the quota.



GooseHunter Jr's picture

With them having a decline

With them having a decline related to weather I have to wonder how the harvest for Colorado has been with the warmer temps we had from archery season into 3rd rifle season.  I know alot of outfitters that have said it has been the woerst year they have ever had.  Hope Colorado and Montana can have a comeback year next year!

hunter25's picture

overall things aren't to bad

overall things aren't to bad considering the bad winter they had last year up there. We have different reprts from all over the state now and it looks like the deer are pretty consistent everywhere across the range. The elk are a little different though as the harvest was way up in some areas and now still down in the north west.