General Hunting Season Begins Across Montana

By | October 23, 2018

Hunters took to the field Saturday and Sunday across northwest Montana for the opening weekend of the general deer and elk season. Amid unseasonably warm temperatures, harvest rates were down at four of the five check stations in Region 1. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff checked 2,632 hunters, 150 white-tailed deer, 10 mule deer and 19 elk for a harvest rate of 6.8 percent.

According to FWP Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson, warm weather made for challenging hunting conditions.

“We didn’t expect success rates to be high this weekend with temps reaching the mid to upper 60’s. The number of hunters visiting check stations was also down this weekend,” Anderson said. “I am surprised that the overall whitetail harvest was this low, but there is plenty of season remaining. We expect these numbers to go up as the season progresses and moisture and colder temperatures move into the area.”

The Olney check station saw the highest harvest rate with 13.6 percent of the hunters harvesting deer. Mule deer buck harvest was up from last year across the region and elk harvest was slightly down.

The counts at the hunter check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.

Hunters are required to stop at game check stations they encounter, even if they have not harvested an animal. The general rifle season for deer and elk runs through Sunday, Nov. 25.

Hunters are reminded that the ability to harvest antlerless whitetail on a general license ends this Friday, Oct. 26, except for hunters under the age of 15 and for people who have a permit to hunt from a vehicle. Hunters are also reminded that mule deer buck hunting in the North Fisher portion of Hunting District 103 near Libby is permit-only.

Elk hunting is brow-tined bull only in Region 1. Spike elk are not legal game.

Hunters are encouraged to check the Montana hunting regulations for the district you plan to hunt before hitting the field.

Hunters are reminded to “Be Bear Aware” and properly store food and manage carcasses. More safety information is available on the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website, fwp.mt.gov. Residents can call Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office for more information. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.

REGION 1 CHECK STATION SUMMARY

OPENING Weekend – October 20 & 21, 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

 

1,294 1,429 73 119 23 56 3 3 7 10 6.4 9.2
 

Swan

 

358 382 24 56 11 25 0 0 0 2 6.7 15.2
 

Thompson

Falls

320 320 9 21 4 6 3 0 7 7 5.9 8.8
 

Olney

 

309 528 39 61 18 31 1 1 2 0 13.6 11.7
 

Canoe Gulch

 

351 382 5 21 1 11 3 0 3 3 3.1 6.3
 

Totals

 

2,632 3,041 150 278 57 129 10 4 19 22 6.8 10.0

 

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

OPENING Weekend – October 20 & 21, 2018

Year Hunter #s Total WTD WT Bucks Mule Deer Elk
2010 2,855 120 84 24 29
2011 2,921 110 81 14 22
2012 2,691 129 105 11 18
2013 2,697 79 63 15 17
2014 2,946 149 123 33 10
2015 2,996 152 101 17 23
2016 3,138 342 157 26 31
2017 3,041 278 129 4 22
2018 2,632 150 57 10 19
Category: Hunting/Fishing Tags:

About NFNews Editor

Patti Hart is the editor-in-chief and founder of the NFNews.net. Patti lives on the North Fork during the summers and travels the world for the rest of the year, updating NFNews every day wherever there is an internet connection.

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