A deer roam the Flathead Reservation.

Whitetail Deer Harvest Slower but Steady in Northwest Montana
By Moosetrack Megan


 

At the six northwest Montana check stations through Sunday, November 6, a total of 8,264 hunters checked  555 whitetail deer (293 of these were bucks), 79 mule deer, and  49 elk for an 8.3 percent rate of hunters with game; this is somewhat higher than the 6.5 percent rate from last year.

 

The number of whitetail bucks is down about 10 percent from last year; elk numbers are down by about the same percentage.  The number of mule deer checked is up. Hunter numbers are down slightly.

 

The counts at the six northwest Montana check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.

 

FWP Region One Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson noted that hunter visitation and harvest rate at check stations this weekend was slow but steady.  Overall hunter success through the 3rd weekend is higher than last year at this time, but the warm weather is posing challenges for hunters – especially those looking for bigger bucks.

 

“We are getting some reports from hunters seeing bucks running with does, indicating the rut is starting, but it isn’t in full swing yet,” Anderson said.  “With relatively warm weather forecasted through next weekend, hunting conditions could remain challenging.”  Anderson added that hunters reported seeing a lot of deer, but mostly does and small bucks.  The onset of rut should improve everyone’s odds of seeing older bucks.  Regardless or harvest success, most hunters were glad to see the sun after a wet, overcast October and enjoyed their time in the field.

 

Hunters are reminded that it is buck-only for whitetails in northwest Montana. Antlerless whitetails remain legal game for properly licensed youth 10-15 years of age, and hunters permitted to hunt from a vehicle.  Mule deer are buck-only for the entire season.  Elk are brow-tine bull only.  Spike bull elk are not legal game for any hunter in Region One.  Hunters should refer to the hunting regulations for the hunting district they plan to hunt.

 

 

Attached: Check station table for northwest Montana

 

 

—fwp—

 

 

 

REGION ONE CHECK STATION SUMMARY

Through November 6, 2016

 

STATION NUMBER

HUNTERS

WHITE-TAILED

DEER

 

WT

Bucks

MULE

DEER

ELK %

HUNTERS

WITH GAME

  2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015
 

Hwy 2

 

3,135 3,548 233 183 119 136 31 32 19 26 9.0 6.8
 

Swan

 

1061 1,237 79 50 42 36 5 2 1 5 8.0 4.6
 

North

Fork

622 524 16 21 7 14 4 1 0 0 3.2 4.2
 

Thompson

Falls

1019 1,025 65 49 31 34 11 6 20 18 9.4 7.1
 

Olney

 

1308 1,217 127 111 76 91 8 5 3 2 10.6 9.7
 

Canoe Gulch

 

1119 1,083 35 28 18 24 20 15 3 4 10.6 4.3
 

Totals

 

8264 8,634 555 442 293 335 79 61 49 55 8.3 6.5

 

 

 

 

 

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

Through November 6, 2016

Year Hunter #s Total WTD WT Bucks Mule Deer Elk
2010 8,560 285 218 60 66
2011 8,696 273 208 29 50
2012 8,130 341 290 42 47
2013 8,695 341 290 71 36
2014 8,095 428 362 74 28
2015 8,634 442 335 61 55
2016 8264 555 293 79 49