MILES CITY – Hunters out and about in southeast Montana during the closing weekend of antelope season found continuing mild weather, and most said they had opportunity to harvest an animal if they wanted to.
This past Sunday at the Hysham rest area, 73 hunting parties and 149 hunters passed through the biological check station. Harvest rates were average with 63 percent of hunters bringing home game. In general, most hunters had a chance to harvest a deer and were satisfied with their hunting opportunity.
Ten antelope (six bucks, four does) and 41 mule deer (38 bucks, three does) were checked at Hysham, which is typical for the last weekend as a majority of the antelope harvest occurs the first couple of weeks.
The number of total mule deer checked was about 25 percent below average, which is to be expected with the purposeful reduction in Region 7 antlerless mule deer licenses. However, mule deer buck harvest was typical for the third weekend of the general season. Twenty-nine white-tailed deer were checked (23 bucks, six does) which was above average for this point in the hunting season. Three elk (two bulls, one cow) were checked.
The check stations provide an opportunity for Region 7 FWP staff to visit with hunters and to better understand what hunters are experiencing in the field in relation to management prescriptions such as the reduction of mule deer B licenses in response to below-average mule deer numbers across the region.
Many hunters coming through the Hysham check station chose to take advantage of the option to have their deer or elk tested for CWD. Thirty-five CWD samples were collected on Sunday. FWP would like to remind hunters that it is not required to stop at CWD sampling stations, however, it is required by law for all hunters to stop at all biological and enforcement check stations.
The pleasant weather this past weekend made it nice for hunters to be out. A total of 85 parties and 152 hunters came through the Ashland check station, with a harvest success rate of 30 percent (slightly below the 10-year average). The number of hunters is 16 percent below the 10-year average for this weekend at Ashland. Harvest included three doe pronghorn, six elk (two bulls, four cows), 36 mule deer (33 bucks, three does), four white-tailed deer (three bucks, one doe), two turkeys and three sharp-tailed grouse.
Folks enjoyed the mid-50s temperatures over the weekend and reported a great weekend afield. Wildlife biologists Emily Mitchell and Melissa Foster visited with 100 hunters, with a 45 percent harvest success rate. They checked five antelope, eight elk, 32 mule deer and two white-tailed deer.
Hunters reported having good opportunity to harvest on their trip, and many of those who went home empty-handed plan to come back and try again. CWD regional coordinator Will Fowler assisted in collecting CWD samples from many of the animals that came through the station.