Hunter Success “Good” for Most Part: Captain’s Column (11.12.15)
Big Game Rifle for deer and elk is heading into its fourth weekend in Montana. I think for the most part the hunter success has been good. It seems that I have been receiving quite a few pictures of Montana youth showing them bagging their first deer and elk. Last week Maddie Spear from Missoula got her first buck – she opted for the first one that she saw while hunting with her dad Marc. She is still looking for her bull elk. A hunting buddy of mine Scott Cole and his daughter Natalia who is 19 shot a couple of nice bucks in eastern Montana. They shot them 15 minutes apart from the same spot. “It is her best buck to date. She was on cloud nine I couldn’t be more proud. It was a perfect day”, said Scott who calls Colstrip home. First time elk hunter Jordan Hershberger and experienced hunter Collin Griffiths from Missoula both shot their bull elk a couple of days a part in the same hunting area. Griffiths who shot his bull on Halloween took Hershberger on his first elk hunt on Monday November 2nd. They walked a few miles during the morning and only spotted a cow elk or two. In the afternoon they saw a nice 6×7 bull and you guessed it by 4pm it was Elk Bull Down! There were a couple of hunters that shot a couple of real nice mule deer one in the Bitterroot and one up in the Hi Line. Mark Meyers drew the coveted 261 mule deer tag and ended up sticking a mule deer that scored 190 with his bow, Kevin Hellegaard from Havre hunting in Sheridan County up in the Hi-Line shot a nice 6×6 muley buck. The snow that we received in Western Montana last week made for perfect hunting conditions. Matt Ryan from Missoula took advantage of the snowy weather and bagged his first bull elk, a nice looking 5 point. Rebecca Doyle of Sula had this to say about her nephews, Louis and Douglas Beaver, hunting experience last week, “My nephews were lucky enough to be asked to help the CB ranch harvest some whitetail does. It was the youngest Beavers first deer. So as you might have guessed hunting activity for young and old has been good. It should only get better since the deer rut has just begun. You may view photos of all these successful hunters on montanoutdoor.com
Elk and white-tailed deer harvest is up and mule deer harvest is lower than last year after the first two weeks of the general big game hunting season in west-central Montana. The harvest of 218 elk through the Anaconda, Bonner and Darby check stations compares to 155 at this point last year. The harvest of 211 white-tailed deer is the highest week two tally since 2008, while the mule deer harvest is lower than in any season since before 1997.
South west Montana received up to 24 inches of snow late last week according to Bob Culp from Frenchtown, who hunts out of Lima every year. Because of recent heavy snows last week, state wildlife officials closed Deckard Flats near Gardiner to elk hunting at one-half hour after sunset last Friday November 6th. The closure is aimed at protecting elk migrating from Yellowstone National Park to winter range in Montana.Deckard Flats is part of an important migratory corridor for this elk population. When elk move en masse through this area they are more vulnerable to harvest due to open terrain and easy access. “The objective of this closure is to moderate the elk harvest by providing additional security to elk during their migration,” said Howard Burt, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife manager in Bozeman.
(Written by Mark Ward)