Hunter success dipped at check stations in Hysham and Ashland on Sunday, but hunters were still happy and encountering wildlife.
“Historically, we see the percent of hunters with deer/elk/antelope to be around 60 percent on the third weekend of the general season, but 51 percent was observed this year,” said Steve Atwood, area wildlife biologist for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 7, who coordinated the Hysham check station. “Despite the lower success rate overall, hunters were satisfied and reported seeing good numbers of game.”
Hunters coming through the Ashland station didn’t fare quite as well, with a 35 percent success rate.
“The weather was chilly, damp, cloudy, and with snow falling much of the day,” said Broadus-area Wildlife Biologist Ryan DeVore. “While the cooler temperatures may have increased deer movement to some extent, the conditions made for very poor visibility and likely caused many animals to hunker down. The hunter harvest success and opportunity rates were down compared to the opening deer and elk weekend, and overall folks were not observing as abundant of game numbers.”
“Despite that, hunters still had ample opportunity to harvest an animal (69 percent), and the vast majority of hunters were satisfied with their hunt (94 percent),” DeVore said.
Hysham saw 146 hunters and checked 53 mule deer (37 bucks and 16 does), 22 white-tailed deer (16 bucks and six females), six antelope (four bucks and two does) and two cow elk.
Ashland had 256 hunters bringing 78 mule deer (50 bucks, 25 does, two fawns), 16 white-tailed deer (five bucks, five does, six fawns), 10 antelope (eight bucks, two does), three elk (one bull, two cows) and two sharp-tailed grouse.
Atwood shared a reminder that all hunters must stop at check stations, even if they have no game. Also, he encouraged hunters to pack their vehicles so that harvested animals are as easy to access as possible. This will help check station staff and save hunters time on their trip home.
(Via MT FWP)