Hunters took to the field Saturday and Sunday across northwest Montana for the opening weekend of the general deer and elk season. At the six northwest Montana check stations, a total of 2,900 hunters checked 85 white-tailed deer (66 of these were bucks), 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.
According to FWP Wildlife Manager Jim Williams, it was a slow opener, particularly for whitetail bucks. “Whitetail buck harvest will pick up as the season progresses,” he said. “The hunting season stretches to the December 1 this year, so we are just getting started.”
The Olney check station saw the best results. Hunters checked 23 whitetail bucks, 3 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 12-15 (and some qualifying 11-year- olds, see the regulations) 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.
(Report by Montana FWP)