The big game hunting season ended last weekend with hunters in Northwest Montana coming away pretty successful, according to state wildlife officials.
At the six regional check stations, a total of 17,656 hunters checked 1,494 white-tailed deer, including 1,069 bucks, according to the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. There were also 146 mule deer and 72 elk for a total success rate of 9.7 percent. This is slightly higher than the 8.2 percent of hunters with game last year. The number of hunters reported at local check stations was down 4 percent.
The number of whitetail bucks checked this year was nearly identical to last year. Both numbers were greater than harvests during the five previous seasons. There were 72 elk reported at check stations, 14 fewer than a year ago. There were 146 mule deer checked, 21 more than last year.
Once again, the Highway 2 check station reported checking the most whitetail deer with 591. The Olney station ranked second with 347, followed by the Swan station with 219. The North Fork station had 16 fewer whitetail deer checked, 45 this year compared to 61 a year ago.
FWP officials noted the counts at the six check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken. Details of total harvest for each hunting district will be known after telephone hunter surveys are completed this winter.
The check station results confirm that hunters were able to see and take good numbers of whitetail deer despite mild hunting conditions, according to Neil Anderson, FWP’s Region One wildlife manager.
Through the end of the big game season, hunters in Northwest Montana have killed 34 wolves. Statewide, 106 wolves have been taken. These totals are up slightly from this time last year. The season continues until March 15.
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