Resident and nonresident hunters are reminded in advance of the Oct. 22 opening of the general big-game hunting season that deer and pronghorn antelope licenses have been sharply reduced this year in Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 6.
That management action was taken earlier this year in response to high mortality in antelope, mule deer and white-tailed deer populations during last year’s extremely harsh winter, impacts from widespread flooding this spring, and an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, commonly known as EHD, among white-tailed deer in some areas of the Region last summer.
Antelope were especially hard hit last winter in Hunting District 630, HD 650 and HD 670. Biologists say that overall, Region 6 antelope numbers are 70 percent lower than in 2010.
For white-tailed deer, winter mortality prompted the number of available antlerless 699-00 “B” licenses -- which can be used all across Region 6 – to initially be decreased from 5,000 to 4,000 this year. The EHD outbreak caused state wildlife managers to withdraw an additional 2,000 of the licenses last summer.
For mule deer, antlerless “B” licenses across FWP Region 6 were reduced from 6,400 issued in 2010 to 2,925 being issued this year.
Specifically for mule deer “B” licenses:
§ Hunting District 600 was reduced from 800 to 400;
§ HD 611 reduced from 400 to 100;
§ HD 620/621/622 complex reduced from 500 to 300;
§ HD 630/631/632 complex reduced from 1,200 to 100;
§ HD 641 reduced from 100 to 50;
§ HD 650 reduced from 200 to 100;
§ HD 652 reduced from 200 to 25;
§ HD 670 reduced from 1,350 to 200.
So when compared to the past few years, when most big-game numbers were unusually high across Montana’s Hi-Line, there will be far fewer animals to pursue this year. That means hunters should plan accordingly.