R1: Hunting Season Ends with Modest Harvest in Northwest Montana
By angelamontana

Posted: December 2, 2019

Kalispell, MT — The general big game hunting season concluded last weekend across Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks tallied more than 14,000 hunters at its five check stations across Region 1 (northwest Montana) this season. Those hunters reported 1,022 white-tailed deer, including 816 bucks, as well as 105 mule deer and 56 elk.

Despite fewer hunters than years’ past, the overall number of harvested deer was up over last year in the region. The percentage of hunters with harvested game increased over last year at U.S. Highway 2, Swan, Olney and Canoe Gulch (Libby) check stations.

Check stations are open on weekends during hunting season and only sample a small portion of hunter participation and harvests across the region. They help biologists track monitoring trends and record information on wildlife age, health and other observations from the field. Hunter-harvest telephone surveys, conducted over the upcoming winter months, will provide more harvest data and information.

Hunting season structures and hunting district boundaries are adopted for most game species every other year between December and final adoptions in February. The biennial season setting process is underway this year, and the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will review tentative proposals and vote whether to open those proposals for public comment at its Dec. 5 meeting in Helena.

In Region 1, FWP is proposing hunting district boundary changes in the Flathead and Swan Valleys (Hunting Districts 130, 132, 140 and 170) and the Bob Marshall (combine Hunting Districts 150 and 151), adding an over-the-counter 199-00 either-sex whitetail B license for the Libby Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone (portions of Hunting Districts 100, 103, and 104) to reduce deer densities, and changing the mountain lion special licenses.

With Commission approval, FWP Region 1 will hold public meetings to seek input on the proposed changes in January. The meetings are scheduled for Jan. 3 in Kalispell (FWP Region 1 Headquarters), Jan. 8 in Trout Creek (Lakeside Resort), Jan. 10 in Libby (K.W. Maki Theater), and Jan. 16 in Eureka (Lincoln Electric Cooperative). All meetings will start at 6 p.m. except Eureka, which will start at 7 p.m.

FWP REGION 1 CHECK STATION SUMMARY

Through Sixth Weekend, December 1, 2019

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

 

5,848 6,020 403 379 330 262 39 48 19 14 7.9 7.3
 

Swan

 

2,035 2,391 167 181 146 130 2 1 3 3 8.5 7.7
 

Thompson

Falls

1,726 1,722 91 102 69 70 11 17 15 25 6.8 8.4
 

Olney

 

2,607 2,611 264 243 210 180 17 16 7 6 11.0 10.1
 

Canoe Gulch

 

1,842 1,871 97 45 61 34 36 18 12 10 7.9 3.9
 

Totals

 

14,058 14,615 1,022 950 816 676 105 100 56 58 8.4 7.6

 

R-1 CHECK STATION TRENDS

Through Sixth Weekend, December 1, 2019

Year Hunter #s Total WTD WT Bucks Mule Deer Elk
2010 16,018 984 828 136 151
2011 17,244 882 731 96 118
2012 16,550 917 807 123 75
2013 17,212 1,081 959 114 56
2014 15,643 1,100 956 130 49
2015 17,363 1,233 1,019 120 84
2016 16,453 1,449 1,035 138 69
2017 16,269 1,275 925 51 78
2018 14,615 950 676 100 58
2019 14,058 1,022 816 105 56