Big game harvests remains slow

Print Article

Velvet hangs from a whitetail buck’s antlers.

Snow arrived in the mountains of Northwest Montana over the weekend, but not soon enough to significantly boost hunting success rates across the region.

Through the third weekend of Montana’s general big-game hunting season, a total of 6,748 hunters have stopped at five check stations across Region 1, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks information.

That number is 850 fewer hunters than a year ago.

This year’s hunters have checked 320 whitetail deer, including 171 bucks, as well as 39 mule deer and 33 elk. The overall success rate for the region is 5.8 percent, down from last year’s 7.1 percent.

Wildlife officials say mild weather has hampered hunter success so far this season.

“Hunters are reporting that they are seeing a lot of does, but the bucks have been more elusive. Hopefully the arrival of colder weather will increase activity among the deer and elk and lead to increased success for hunters,” said Neil Anderson, FWP Region 1 wildlife manager.

The onset of the rut, which is expected to occur soon, should improve hunters’ odds of seeing older bucks.

More winter weather is on the way as well. Up to 20 inches of new snow is possible in the mountains through Wednesday.

The U.S. 2 area has seen the most hunter traffic, with 3,502 counted at the check station. Those hunters have accounted for 142 white-tailed deer, 25 mule deer and 10 elk.

The highest hunter success rate is at the Olney check station. The 8.9 percent rate is above last season’s mark.

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.

Montana’s general big-game hunting season began Oct. 20 and ends Nov. 25.

Hunters are 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 they plan to hunt before hitting the field.

This year there are new regulations and carcass transport restrictions surrounding the threat of chronic wasting disease. Because of the discovery of CWD, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has established CWD positive areas and transport restriction zones in both parts of the state where the disease was found.

With the detection of an additional suspect in Liberty County, the CWD positive areas were increased to all of Liberty County, and in Carbon County east of U.S. Highway 212 and the Roberts-Cooney Road to the Wyoming border. FWP established broader transport restriction zones to help prevent the spread of the disease. A TRZ is one or more counties, or portions of counties, that contain a CWD positive area.

To prevent the spread of CWD, no brain or spinal column material from animals taken in the CWD positive area are allowed outside the transport restriction zones. For more info, visit FWP’s CWD information page.

Hunters are also reminded to properly dispose of carcasses. Once an animal with CWD dies, any part of the carcass can transmit the disease for at least two years. Safely dispose of all animal parts in solid waste landfills to help keep our local herds clean of CWD.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Kalispell picks Overman as new police chief

January 16, 2019 at 9:23 am | Daily Inter Lake The city of Kalispell has a new chief of police and it’s a man who is well-known in the community. Kalispell Police Department Capt. Doug Overman will take over as chief Monday, Jan. 21, City Mana...


Read More

Kalispell woman crowned Miss Rodeo Montana

January 16, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake A 25-year-old Kalispell woman who survived a local plane crash seven years ago was named Miss Rodeo Montana 2019 on Saturday. Kayla Seaman earned the title following four days of competition in hors...


Read More

Moderates emerge as major players in state Legislature

January 16, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake HELENA — A loose-knit, ever-evolving group of Republican legislators is making waves and causing headaches in the 66th Montana Legislature. They call themselves the “solutions caucus.” It’s not a...


Read More

Montana issuing February SNAP benefits early due to shutdown

January 16, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake February food benefits will be distributed early to thousands of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in lieu of the ongoing partial government shutdown, according to an announcemen...


Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2019 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy