Heading into the final days of Montana’s big game season, numbers of mule deer and elk taken by hunters on the Rocky Mountain Front near Augusta continue to remain below average, according to a state wildlife biologist.
“Elk harvest is 25 percent below the 10-year average,” said Brent Lonner, Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist. “Mule deer harvest is at 23 percent below the 10-year average but is improving.”
Only the number of white-tailed deer taken by hunters to the FWP Augusta check station is on the plus side at 11 percent above the 10-year average, Lonner said.
The numbers collected at FWP’s Augusta check station– the department’s sole Region 4 biological check station – apply only to a handful of hunting districts on the Rocky Mountain Front.
With the five-week general deer and elk season ending this weekend, most the animals brought into the Augusta check station are deer.
Of the two elk hunting districts on the Front with quotas, HD 424’s quota has been met so only brow-tined bull elk can be taken there through Nov. 25, the end of the general rifle season.
In HD 442, hunters have taken 80 antlerless or brow-tined bull elk out of the quota of 100.
Nearly three quarters of all elk checked in Augusta are from hunting districts 424, 442 and 425.
Elk hunters so far this year have brought in 185 animals (70 bulls, 104 cows and 11 calves) compared to the 10-year average of 246 elk.
Mule deer at the check station have numbered 157 (143 bucks, 11 does and three fawns). The 10-year average is 203 animals.
White-tailed deer numbers stand at 221 (110 bucks, 80 does and 31 fawns), while the 10-year average is 200.
Montana’s deer and elk general season ends one-half hour after sunset on Nov. 25.