White-tailed deer harvest continued to rebound from recent years through the second weekend of the big game general hunting season, with the highest harvest levels in west-central Montana since 2008.
FWP biologists and student volunteers from the University of Montana checked 155 white-tailed deer through the Bonner, Darby and Anaconda hunter check stations in the first two weekends of the season, up 15 percent from the five-year average, and 13 percent above last year’s tally of 137 white-tailed deer.
As usual, the Bonner Check Station accounted for almost 75 percent of the white-tailed deer harvest that was sampled at the three check stations, where hunter numbers were up slightly from last year, despite rain showers throughout the weekend.
The weekend’s precipitation produced traces of snow at the highest elevations, but not enough to move elk yet. At the three check stations combined, the elk harvest reached 139 over the weekend, compared to 129 last year. The elk harvest of 92 at Darby was the highest in the region, and five percent higher than last year but well below the five-year average.
At the check station near Anaconda, hunters reported 23 elk in the first two weekends combined, on par with 24 last year. White-tailed deer harvest reported at Anaconda was 11, compared to four at this point in the 2014 season.
FWP operated a check station at the mouth of Fish Creek for the third year in the past four, and reached a total of 347 hunters in the first and second weekends of the season. The 10 white-tailed deer checked at Fish Creek so far this season is up from only five in 2013 and six in 2012. No elk have been checked at Fish Creek so far.
In total, the region’s four hunter check stations are reporting 4,863 hunter trips, 139 elk, 46 mule deer, 165 whitetails, five black bears, two moose and one bighorn sheep. The general rifle season for deer and elk runs through Sunday, Nov. 29.