Opening weekend of the general deer and elk season kept Region 3 staff and volunteers busy at seven check stations across southwest Montana.
Harvest numbers were up over 2014 numbers at the check stations operated in Cameron, at the mouth of the Gallatin Canyon, in Divide, in Silver City, and in Mill Creek although some stations saw a decrease in hunter numbers.
At the Cameron check station in Ennis, Area Biologist Julie Cunningham reported seeing more mule deer come through over the weekend than any opening weekend since records began being kept in 1989 at 14. Those Madison hunters also brought through 46 elk and 2 white-tailed deer.
A check station operated in the area east of Townsend recorded the most hunters of any Region 3 check station with 749. And of those 749 hunters, over 15-percent successfully harvested a deer or an elk.
To the west, the check stations which monitor the Upper Big Hole – Divide and Mill Creek – exceeded biologists’ expectations. Between the two stations, staff and volunteers checked in 58 elk.
And in the Helena area, 704 hunters came through the Silver City check station. Area Biologist Jenny Sika reported 5 white-tailed deer, 7 mule deer, and 27 elk taken in surrounding hunting districts leading to a nearly 6-percent harvest success rate – on par with prior years.
Hunters are reminded that they must stop at all check stations that they pass on their way to or from hunting—even if they have not harvested any animals. The general rifle season for deer and elk runs through Sunday, Nov. 29.