Hunters who braved strong winds on the Rocky Mountain Front for the opening weekend of Montana’s general big game season took home about the same number of elk and mule deer but more white-tailed deer compared to the past seven years.
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.
“Total elk harvest was very similar to recent years,” said Brent Lonner, FWP wildlife biologist. “Most of this harvest is coming from more accessible elk along the foothills of the southern Front (Hunting District 422). Very little harvest is occurring on the Sun River elk (HD 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 17 animals (11 bulls, five cows and one calf) compared to the seven-year average of 10 bulls and eight cows.
Mule deer numbers over the weekend at the check station came to 14 (11 bucks and three does); for the past seven years hunters averaged nine bucks, three does and one fawn.
With whitetails, this year’s opening weekend count in Augusta was 18 (11 bucks, five does and two fawns) while the seven-year average was seven bucks, five does and two fawns.
The general deer and elk season runs through Nov. 26.