Good year ahead for deer, elk hunters
By Hookemharry

Posted: October 23, 2003

The past few years of mild winter weather in Montana might pay off handsomely for hunters in the weeks ahead.

The general deer and elk hunting season opens this Sunday and elk and deer populations in most area of the state are excellent.

Now all hunters need is a little cooperation from the weather. Hunters are looking for some heavy snow and colder weather, especially for

elk. The combination of the two gives hunters better tracking conditions and also triggers the fall migrations that bring elk and deer out of the high country.

If there’s a lack of snow and cold weather, the elk will remain scattered throughout the mountains at high elevations, making it tougher for hunters to find them.

So bring on the snow!

Reports from area wild-game meat processors have been good so far, which also bodes well for rifle hunters in the weeks ahead. “The bow hunters, backcountry hunters, and some elk hunters from Idaho have kept us busier than usual,” said John Peterson from H and H Custom Meats in Missoula.

If that’s a sign, Peterson should be exceptionally busy in the weeks to come.

One thing for hunters to remember is that daylight saving time ends this Sunday. You need to turn your clocks back one hour and, therefore, sunrise in zone 1 in Western Montana is 7:10am.

If you’re still looking for a place to hunt and don’t mind filling your tag with a doe deer or cow elk, a new web site is designed to bring landowners and hunters together is online this year.

The Web site, www.DoeCowHunt.montana.edu , was created by Dr, James Knight and his staff at Montana State University. It was developed to help Montana landowners who want doe or cow elk hunters and hunters who are looking for a place to hunt does or cow elk.

“The site simply helps them find each other”, says Knight. The web site has had a better than expected response since it came online a couple of weeks ago. The MSU Extension Wildlife Program developed this site to help address this opportunity. “There is no charge to use the site and those listed have total control over entry and deletion of their name” adds Knight. The site was designed by Linda Keddington and developed by Ric Roche. Both work at MSU.

Anglers will also be busy this weekend. On Saturday, the second annual Fall Mack Days begins on Flathead Lake. Over $3000 in cash and prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the derby which runs through Saturday November 15th. This year’s event will also include a $500 cash prize for the largest lake trout. Local TV personality Monte Turner has been named this years Honorary Chairman. Call 406-883-1903 or log on to www.mackdays.com for more details.

The Montana Outdoor Radio Show will be on location to help kick off the fishing derby on Saturday morning. Besides our regular statewide broadcast from 6-8 a.m., we will have a special show from 8-10 a.m. on KERR-750AM.

Finally, I just got back from enjoying the pheasant hunting opener in South Dakota. Every year, I travel back to my home state to enjoy pheasant hunting with my brothers, sisters and cousins.

This year we saw a lot of birds and the hunting was good. The weather was unseasonably hot however, with temperatures in the low 90’s the first two-days.

When you hunt in the that kind of heat, it definitely affects how much you can walk. It also is very hard on the dogs. Both days, we cut short our hunting because the dogs were having a tough time in the heat.