The number of hunters remains strong on the Rocky Mountain Front but the number of animals taken is mostly below the 10-year average at the close of the second weekend of Montana’s general big game season.
The numbers were collected at Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ check station in Augusta, says Brent Lonner, FWP wildlife biologist.
“Total mule deer harvest so far is about average, but elk and white-tailed deer harvest is below average,” Lonner says. “Elk harvest is low mostly due to mild weather and inability to access animals. Whitetail harvest is no doubt low due to the EHD die-off that occurred late this summer and early fall.”
Elk hunters so far have brought in 57 elk (25 bulls, 27 cows and five calves) compared to the long-term average of 68 elk.
While the numbers at the Augusta check station – FWP Region 4’s sole biological check station – apply only to a handful of hunting districts on the Rocky Mountain Front, they often mirror conditions elsewhere in north central Montana.
With whitetails, this year’s count in Augusta stands at 30 (15 bucks, nine does and six fawns), while the 10-year average is 48.
Mule deer at the check station have numbered 57 (50 bucks, 6 does and one fawn). The long-term average is 60 animals.
Total number of hunters stopping this year at the check station has been 894, compared with a 10-year average of 717.
The general deer and elk season runs through Dec. 1.
(Report by Montana FWP)