Mild weather conditions during much of the general season made it challenging for hunters to find game at lower elevations.
The general season lasted from Oct. 21 through Nov. 26. During that time, FWP staff operated game check stations at various times and locations in southwest Montana, including stations in Alder, Cameron, Canyon Ferry, Divide, Gallatin Canyon, Lakeside, Mill Creek and Townsend. Collectively, they met with 6,112 hunters who harvested 66 white-tailed deer, 152 mule deer and 310 elk, among other species.
Biologists use check stations to collect data on hunter participation and success, as well as the species, sex and age class of the animals harvested. Check station data supplements information collected through hunter harvest phone surveys each year.
The Alder check station was open on the first, third and sixth weekends of the general season. Wildlife staff there met with 768 hunters who collectively harvested 15 white-tailed deer, 38 mule deer and 40 elk over the three weekends. Hunter success for the final weekend was 18 percent, slightly below the long-term average of 21 percent.
Biologists operated a check station at Canyon Ferry on the final weekend of the general season. They met with 266 hunters, 7.5 percent of whom harvested deer or elk.
The Cameron check station was open each weekend during the general season. Wildlife staff there met with 2,339 hunters who harvested 16 white-tailed deer, 47 mule deer and 180 elk. Hunter success rates were at or near average during the season, except the fifth weekend, which had a success rate of 7.6 percent that tied with the lowest on record for that weekend. Hunter success climbed to 18.3 percent on the final weekend, compared with a long-term average of 15 percent.
The Divide check station was also open each weekend during the general season. Biologists there met with 1,357 hunters, who harvested 15 white-tailed deer, 40 mule deer and 48 elk. Mild weather made it especially challenging for hunters to harvest game in this area. The general season ended with a success rate of 6.1 percent on the final weekend, compared with a long-term average of 11.8 percent.
The Gallatin check station operated during the first, fourth and sixth weekends of the general season. Wildlife staff there met with 345 hunters who harvested six mule deer and 13 elk. Hunter success over the final weekend was 7.6 percent, compared with a long-term average of 9.9 percent.
The Mill Creek check station was open over the first, third and final weekends of the season. Wildlife staff met with 693 hunters who harvested two white-tailed deer, 3 mule deer and 18 elk. On the final weekend, 2.2 percent of hunters were successful, compared with a long-term average of 6.7 percent.
Check stations were also run in Lakeside and Townsend during the first weekend of the general season. Between these two stations, wildlife staff met with 344 hunters who harvested 11 white-tailed deer, five mule deer and eight elk.