GREAT FALLS – 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 34 percent below the 10-year average,” said Brent Lonner, Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife biologist. “Mule deer harvest is at 30 percent below the 10-year average.”
Only the number of white-tailed deer taken by hunters to the FWP Augusta check station is on the plus side at 30 percent above the 10-year average, Lonner said, adding the antlerless harvest continues to be the main driver of this year’s increase.
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.
Nearly three quarters of all elk checked in this season at Augusta are from hunting districts 424, 425 and 442.
Hunters are reminded that elk quotas for HDs 424 and 442 have been met. That means elk hunting in those two districts is limited to brow-tined bull only through the remainder of the general rifle season.
Elk hunters so far this year have brought in 163 animals (72 bulls, 72 cows and 19 calves) compared to the 10-year average of 245 elk.
Mule deer at the check station have numbered 131 (115 bucks, 15 does and one fawn). The 10-year average is 187 animals.
White-tailed deer numbers stand at 268 (126 bucks, 118 does and 24 fawns), while the 10-year average is 208.
Montana’s deer and elk general season ends one-half hour after sunset on Nov. 29.