GREAT FALLS – Mild weather continues to have a negative impact on hunting success within the greater Augusta area based on data collected at FWP’s Biological Check Station in Augusta, where overall hunting and harvest levels continue to remain slightly behind normal through the first two full weeks of the general rifle season.
As of November 7, a total of 197 deer and elk had been checked through the check station, resulting in a 17.1% harvest success, which is below average but an improvement from the first week of the season. Low harvest to date has largely been impacted by mild weather conditions making hunting more difficult this season.
Mule and white-tail deer harvest make up nearly two thirds of the total big game animals checked through the check station to this point. However, both mule and white-tail harvest remain 18% and 16% below recent averages. Deer harvest continues to be generally well distributed from throughout the greater Augusta area. Hunters also reported that they are starting to see a few smaller bucks starting to display rutting behavior, which should increase over the next few weeks.
Elk harvest continues to be nearly 40% below average for the date. Minimal harvest continues to occur on ‘Sun River’ elk given the mild weather and lack of movement of these elk towards their winter range.
The HD 442 elk quota remains open to antlerless elk harvest. The HD 424 quota has been met and will officially close to antlerless elk hunting a half hour after sunset on November 9. Brow-tined bull hunting will remain valid within HD 424 until the end of the general rifle hunting season.
In addition to the recorded deer and elk harvest, 7 antelope, 1 mountain goat, 1 bighorn sheep, 1 mountain lion and a variety of game birds (upland and waterfowl) have been checked though the station. For hunters still holding an unfilled antelope license, that season closes November 14.
Another week with little or no moisture means that fire conditions are still extremely high, especially along the Rocky Mountain Front. Hunters and other recreationists should be extra cautious and follow all fire restrictions, and check for the most up-to-date information at www.mtfireinfo.org
before leaving home.
The general deer and elk seasons runs through Nov. 28. The check station operated by FWP along Main Street in Augusta is the only biological check station in Region 4 and operates seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends. Hunters are reminded that they must stop at any check station they pass while hunting, whether or not they have harvested game. Biological check stations are intended primarily for biologists to gather statistical information and trends about animals and hunters.