R1: Hunter Success Increasing in Northwest Montana
By angelamontana

Posted: November 15, 2018

Kalispell, MT — Hunters were more successful last weekend across northwest Montana as the big-game hunting season approaches its final weeks.

Activity picked up at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ five game check stations in Region 1. The number of mule deer harvested has significantly increased over last year with 64 bucks checked compared to 26 after the fourth weekend of last season. The number of reported white-tailed deer and elk remain below last year’s numbers, as well as the total number of hunters.

So far this season, 9,110 hunters have checked 436 white-tailed deer, 64 mule deer and 46 elk. The overall hunter success rate in the region this year is 6 percent, compared to 6.8 percent a year ago.

“We are starting to get reports of bucks showing rutting behavior, and we a few large bucks came through the check stations” said Neil Anderson, FWP’s Region 1 wildlife manager. “The bucks are becoming more active and we had a few hunters reporting success with rattling antlers. It’s a great time of year to be out in the woods in northwest Montana. Hopefully, sportsmen will have the opportunity to spend some time in the field.”

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.

Montana’s general big-game hunting season ends Nov. 25.

  • Hunters are reminded that mule deer buck hunting in the North Fisher portion of Hunting District 103 near Libby is permit-only.
  • Hunters are encouraged to check the Montana hunting regulations for the district they plan to hunt before hitting the field.
  • This year there are new regulations and carcass transport restrictions surrounding the threat of chronic wasting disease (CWD). FWP has established CWD positive areas and transport restriction zones (TRZ) in parts of the state where the disease was found. To prevent the spread of CWD, no brain or spinal column material from animals taken in positive areas are allowed outside the transport restriction zones. For information about positive areas and TRZs, visit fwp.mt.gov.
  • 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.
  • Hunters should “Be Bear Aware” and properly store food and manage carcasses. More safety information is available on the FWP website, fwp.mt.gov. Residents can call FWP regional offices for more information. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.

 

REGION 1 CHECK STATION SUMMARY

Through Fourth Weekend, November 11, 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

 

3,952 4,506 182 255 102 149 34 6 12 22 5.8 6.3
 

Swan

 

1,328 1,323 81 99 49 62 0 3 2 4 6.3 8.0
 

Thompson

Falls

1,071 1,057 30 60 21 24 10 1 17 20 5.3 7.7
 

Olney

 

1,612 1,791 123 154 84 107 12 2 6 5 8.7 9.0
 

Canoe Gulch

 

1,147 1,383 20 36 11 24 8 14 9 7 3.2 4.1
 

Totals

 

9,110 10,060 436 604 267 366 64 26 46 58 6.0 6.8

 

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

Through Fourth Weekend, November 11, 2018

Year Hunter #s Total WTD WT Bucks Mule Deer Elk
2010 10,474 399 318 87 79
2011 10,941 369 289 50 62
2012 10,381 421 364 61 56
2013 11,074 576 515 84 45
2014 10,442 582 500 104 37
2015 11,179 635 504 89 61
2016 10,188 761 483 109 58
2017 10,060 604 366 26 58
2018 9,110 436 267 64 46