By angelamontana

Posted: November 29, 2022

MISSOULA – Montana’s 2022 general big game hunting season closed Sunday, Nov. 27 much the way it began five weeks ago, with harvest totals up slightly from last year and cold and snowy conditions prevailing across much of west-central Montana.

During the six weekends of the season, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks operated wildlife check stations in four locations around west-central Montana, where biologists collectively recorded 9,726 hunter stops and a harvest of 301 elk, 110 mule deer and 567 white-tailed deer.  This compares to 10,216 hunter stops, 192 elk, 109 mule deer and 513 white-tailed deer at the 2021 season’s end.

The pattern of slightly higher than average harvest totals held true all season long, as did overall cold and snowy hunting conditions, which was one contributor to elk hunter success.   All four west-central Montana hunter check stations saw more elk in the 2022 season than in 2021.  The Darby station checked more elk this year than it had since 2015.

There were some local variations in harvest patterns across the region. While elk harvest was up at all hunter check stations, the mule deer harvest tally was up at the Bonner station, down at Fish Creek, in line with average at Anaconda and down slightly from last season at Darby.  White-tailed deer harvest numbers were up at Darby and Bonner, down at Anaconda, and on track with average at Fish Creek.

Check stations only account for a small percentage of total harvest across the region, but because the stations have been in operation consistently for many years, they monitor important early harvest trends and are a key way to gather biological information on wildlife health and age.

The general rifle season closed on Nov. 27, but some late seasons, such as the muzzleloader season (Dec. 10-18, 2022), are coming up.  Find out more: fwp.mt.gov/hunt.

Check station results chart (PDF)


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