Outdoors

Hunter Success Picks Up in Northwest Montana

General big game hunting season concludes Dec. 1

With two weeks remaining in Montana’s general hunting season, the percentage of hunters with harvested game is slightly ahead of last year in northwest Montana, according to wildlife officials.

Through four weekends of the season, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has tallied nearly 9,200 hunters at five big game check stations in Region 1.

Among those hunters, FWP has recorded 620 white-tailed deer, including 479 bucks, as well as 81 mule deer and 46 elk. The overall percentage of hunters checked with harvested game is 8.1 percent, compared to 6 percent a year ago. The total number of white-tailed bucks reported at the check stations is 212 more than a year ago.

Check stations are open on weekends during hunting season. The counts at the stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken. Hunters must stop at all check stations that they pass, even if they have not harvested any animals.

The general big game season runs through Sunday, Dec. 1.

FWP reminds hunters to review the regulations for specific rules in each hunting district. 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.

FWP has detected chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Libby area, and hunters need to be aware of the Libby CWD Management Zone, which includes portions of HDs 100, 103 and 104. All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone must be checked and sampled within three days of harvest.

During general big game season, the Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station, located at the Montana Department of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2, mile marker 35, will be open every day from 11 a.m. until 1½ hours after sunset. Hunters are only required to stop at the sampling station if they harvested an animal.

FWP issued 600 antlerless white-tailed deer licenses that are only eligible within the Libby CWD Management Zone during the archery and general deer seasons.