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R4 Opening Weekend Update: Deer Harvest Up, Elk Steady
By angelamontana


Hunters hit the Rocky Mountain Front for the opening weekend of Montana’s general big game season, taking home more mule deer and white-tailed deer compared to the past six years.

The elk harvest was about the same for the six-year average.

The numbers were collected at Fish, Wildlife and Parks check station in Augusta, which has been in operation for decades; however, starting in 2010 the opener for the general deer and elk season was moved from Sunday to Saturday.

“White-tail numbers in the Augusta area are strong,” said Brent Lonner, FWP wildlife biologist. “Mule deer numbers as observed during 2016 spring surveys are above recent average as well. But very little elk harvest is occurring on elk from the Sun River country, hunting districts 424, 425 and 442, due to lack of cold and snow.”

FWP’s Augusta check station is Region 4’s sole biological check station, and the results apply only to a handful of hunting districts on the Rocky Mountain Front.

Elk hunters this year brought in 16 animals (nine bulls and seven cows) compared to the six-year average of 10 bulls, eight cows and one calf.

Mule deer numbers over the weekend at the check station came to 22 (19 bucks and three does); for the past six years hunters averaged seven bucks, four does and one fawn.

With whitetails, this year’s opening weekend count in Augusta was 26 (14 bucks, nine does and three fawns) while the six-year average was six bucks, four does and one fawn.

The general deer and elk season runs through Nov. 27

(Report via FWP)