R1: Game Check Stations Track Hunting Season Harvests
By angelamontana

Posted: October 29, 2018

Kalispell, MT — Big game check station results indicate a slower than average start to hunting season in northwest Montana (Region 1).

After the first two weeks of the general hunting season, a total of 4,788 hunters have stopped at five check stations across the region. Hunters have reported a total of 241 white-tailed deer, including 114 bucks, as well as 23 mule deer and 28 elk. The hunter success rate is 6.1 percent to date, compared to 7.4 percent after two weeks a year ago.

The number of elk harvested so far in the region is identical to last year and on pace with the 10-year average. The mule deer harvest is higher than last year but remains below average compared to recent years. The harvest of white-tailed deer is below average but is expected to pick up in the coming weeks as the rut approaches.

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

Hunters are required to stop at game check stations they encounter, even if they have not harvested an animal. The general rifle season for deer and elk runs through Sunday, Nov. 25.

Note: Last week’s check station data for Olney contained a mathematical error. The number of hunters reported at the station for the first weekend was 409, not 309.

 

Important for Hunters to Follow CWD Restrictions

Hunters are reminded to follow the new regulations and carcass transport restrictions surrounding the threat of chronic wasting disease. Last year, CWD was discovered in deer south of Billings and north of Chester. This contagious neurological disease infects deer, elk and moose. It is always fatal and there is no known cure. CWD is not known to infect humans, but it is strongly recommended that humans not eat meat from infected animals.

Because of the discovery of CWD, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has established CWD positive areas and transport restriction zones in both parts of the state where the disease was found.

The CWD positive areas are in part of Hunting District 401 in Liberty County north of U.S. Highway 2 to the Canadian border and in Carbon County east of U.S. Highway 212 and the Roberts-Cooney Road to the Wyoming border.

In addition to the CWD positive areas, FWP established broader transport restriction zones (TRZ) to help prevent the spread of the disease. A TRZ is one or more counties, or portions of counties, that contain a CWD positive area.

To prevent the spread of CWD, no brain or spinal column material from animals taken in the CWD positive area are allowed outside the TRZ.

Hunters are also reminded to properly dispose of carcasses. Once an animal with CWD dies, any part of the carcass can transmit the disease for at least two years. Safely dispose of all animal parts in solid waste landfills to help keep our local herds clean of CWD.  

For more information, go to fwp.mt.gov and click on “CWD.”

 

REGION 1 CHECK STATION SUMMARY

Through Second Weekend, October 28, 2018

 

STATION NUMBER

HUNTERS

WHITE-TAILED

DEER

 

WT

BUCKS

MULE

DEER

ELK %

HUNTERS

WITH GAME

  2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017
 

Hwy 2

 

2236 2497 106 159 44 80 12 5 10 12 5.7 7.0
 

Swan

 

619 635 46 60 23 27 0 2 0 2 7.4 10.1
 

Thompson

Falls

582 555 16 27 11 7 4 0 12 10 5.5 6.7
 

Olney

 

757 957 62 88 32 52 3 1 2 0 8.9 9.3
 

Canoe Gulch

 

594 731 11 23 4 12 4 6 4 4 3.2 4.5
 

Totals

 

4788 5375 241 357 114 178 23 14 28 28 6.1 7.4

 

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

Through Second Weekend October 28, 2018

Year Hunter #s Total WTD WT Bucks Mule Deer Elk
2010 5,188 183 136 36 45
2011 5,304 200 152 22 36
2012 5,021 253 219 19 34
2013 5,405 188 158 47 28
2014 5,171 278 233 54 18
2015 5,230 310 232 38 35
2016 5,649 442 215 48 45
2017 5,375 357 178 14 28
2018 4,788 241 114 23 28