R1: Mule Deer, Elk Harvests Ahead of Last Year in Northwest Montana
By angelamontana

Posted: November 4, 2019

Kalispell, MT — The second weekend of Montana’s general hunting season saw an uptick in hunters, and the numbers of harvested white-tailed bucks, mule deer and elk are slightly ahead of last year across northwest Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has reported more than 4,800 hunters at its five check stations across Region 1 through Nov. 3. FWP has checked 219 white-tailed deer, including 121 bucks, as well as 36 mule deer and 32 elk so far this season. The numbers of white-tailed bucks, mule deer and elk are slightly higher than a year ago. Total white-tailed deer harvest is slightly down compared to the first two weekends of the 2018 general season.

The counts at the hunter check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken. Hunters must stop at all check stations that they pass, even if they have not harvested any animals.

The general big game season runs through Sunday, Dec. 1.

FWP reminds hunters to review the regulations for specific rules in each hunting district.

There is a change in the antlerless hunts in hunting districts 122 and 130 this year. General hunters can no longer harvest antlerless white-tailed deer the first week or the last week of the season in those hunting districts, regardless of land ownership. Youth 12-15 years old and those with a permit to hunt from the vehicle are still allowed to harvest an antlerless whitetail in those hunting districts. Only B license holders can harvest antlerless deer in those districts.

Hunters are reminded that mule deer buck hunting in the North Fisher portion of Hunting District 103 near Libby is permit-only. See legal description in regulations and legal district booklet.

Elk hunting is brow-tined bull only in Region 1. Spike elk are not legal game.

FWP has detected chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer in the Libby area, and hunters need to be aware of the Libby CWD Management Zone, which includes portions of HDs 100, 103 and 104. All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone must be checked and sampled within three days of harvest.

During general big game season, the Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station, located at the Montana Department of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2, mile marker 35, will be open every day from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset. Hunters are only required to stop at the Sampling Station if they harvested an animal.

FWP issued 600 antlerless white-tailed deer licenses that are only eligible within the Libby CWD Management Zone during the archery and general deer seasons.

For more information about CWD, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.

Hunters are reminded to “Be Bear Aware” and properly store food and carcasses. Hunters should avoid hanging carcasses near houses or garages. Carcasses must be suspended at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet out from any upright support. Hunters are encouraged to carry bear spray and know how to use it. More food storage and safety information are available on the FWP website, fwp.mt.gov.

Residents can call Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office for more information. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.

 

REGION 1 CHECK STATION SUMMARY

Through Second Weekend of General Hunting Season

STATION NUMBER

HUNTERS

WHITE-TAILED

DEER

 

WT

Bucks

MULE

DEER

ELK %

HUNTERS

WITH GAME

  2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018
 

Hwy 2

 

2,117 2,236 77 106 44 44 14 12 14 10 4.9 5.7
 

Swan

 

531 619 20 46 15 23 1 0 3 0 4.5 7.4
 

Thompson

Falls

685 582 22 16 16 11 3 4 5 12 4.3 5.5
 

Olney

 

909 757 78 62 41 32 4 3 3 2 9.3 8.9
 

Canoe Gulch

 

636 594 22 11 5 4 14 4 7 4 6.7 3.2
 

Totals

 

4,878 4,788 219 241 121 114 36 23 32 28 5.8 6.1

 

 

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

Through Second Weekend (November 3, 2019)

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
2019 4,878 219 121 36 32