Well the general rifle hunting season for deer and elk in Montana came to a close Sunday. As one of my hunting partners texted me on Monday. “Let’s have a moment of silence for the passing of 2014 hunting season”. As is the case every hunting season some hunters need a moment of silence and others are celebrating the success they have had in the field. I do know that the Mother Nature was a lot more cooperative in favor of the hunters this year.
Montana had two nice storms that came into the state in November, one in the middle and one at the end of the month. Those cold and snowy conditions helped move the elk and deer around and if the hunters were able to hunt during that time period they more than likely got game. A couple of the areas wild game processing plants had steady and good years. “The season was up and down for us with a lot elk during archery season but our elk intake tapered off as the rifle seasons wound down”, added Jennifer Meinzen of Lolo Lockers, “but after having declines for a few years in a row 2014 proved to be a bright spot as it held its own and actually increased a little bit so that was encouraging”.
In Missoula, Brad from H and H Meats said that after the antelope season that was down the elk and deer season proved to be very good, “We started out good at the beginning of the rifle season and it only got better as the hunting season went on”. Deer numbers were steady with last year but elk numbers were way up at H and H Meats. “The last couple of days of the season after Thanksgiving our elk numbers were double from last year so we are happy and have a lot of work to do to get our customers meat back before the holidays”, said Brad.
I am sure everyone knows someone who was successful hunting and was able to harvest a really nice buck or bull. All hunters have a story to tell and some of those hunters have been on the montanaoutdoor.com web site with a picture of their animal and are worth mentioning. Matt Mogan from the Bitterroot Valley who is originally from Laurel Montana returns home to hunt deer every year with family and was able to shoot a nice muley in Eastern Montana.
Toby Walrath also from the Bitterroot posted a story on montanaoutdoor.com about this year’s archery hunting season, “I just wasn’t ready when a bull elk was bugled in because I was having lunch or another time a bull elk came in quiet within 20 yards in the opposite direction I expected it to be and wasn’t able to get off a shot”. However, he prevailed in the rifle season but it took him until the final weekend to get his bull elk and as luck would have it when he downed his elk he had two more standing broadside at 200 yards.
And then there is Trevor Johnson from Helen who waited for 5 years and passed up 46 bull elk so he could harvest a monster. This hunting season was year 6 and with a new born in the family this year he figured it was high time to put meat in the freezer. He did and what a nice looking bull elk it ended up being. I hope you were successful this year and you don’t have to eat your deer or elk tag. If you weren’t there is always next year.
(Written by the Captain)