Slow Opener for Hunting Whitetail Deer in Northwest Montana

By Beacon Staff

Hunters took to the field last weekend across Northwest Montana for the opener of the general deer and elk season. At the six local check stations, a total of 2,900 hunters checked 85 white-tailed deer, including 66 bucks, according to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. There were also 16 mule deer and 17 elk for a 4.1 percent rate of hunters with game. This compares with a 5.5 percent rate of hunters with game last year at the check stations.

“Whitetail buck harvest will pick up as the season progresses,” FWP Wildlife Manager Jim Williams said. “The hunting season stretches to the Dec. 1 this year, so we are just getting started.”

The Olney check station saw the best results. Hunters checked 23 whitetail bucks, three bull elk and one mule deer buck, for a 7.3 percent rate of hunters with game.

Hunters are reminded that regulations for whitetails and mule deer in Region One are buck-only through the end of the hunting season. Youth ages 12-15, and some qualifying 11-year-olds, can take antlerless whitetail deer.

Elk hunting is brow-tined bull only. Spike elk are not legal game. These regulations apply in most Region One hunting districts. Check the Montana hunting regulations for the district you plan to hunt.