Lackluster hunting opener in NW Montana
Posted on 30 October 2017
Weather could improve results
At five northwest Montana check stations this weekend, a total of 5,375 hunters checked 357 white-tailed deer (178 were bucks), 14 mule deer, and 22 elk for a 7.4 percent rate of check station hunters with game.
This compares to 6,051 hunters and 9.1 percent rate of hunters with game at check stations last year through the second weekend of the general season. The Swan check station was the only check station to see an increase in hunters with game compared to 2016.
The number of hunters visiting check stations remained slightly lower than last year. The Thompson Falls hunter check station saw the largest decrease in hunter visits with nearly 200 fewer hunters. The only check station to see an increase in hunter numbers was Olney, which checked 90 more hunters in 2017 than in 2016.
FWP biologist Chris Hammond notes that although harvest numbers are down in 2017 for white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk in Region One, it is too early to predict where the harvest will be by the end of the season. If changes in the weather forecasted for later this week hold, hunters could experience more success this coming weekend.
As a reminder, only antlered buck whitetails are legal on a general license until the last week of the season. From November 20-26, hunters can harvest an antlerless whitetail on private property (excluding corporate timber lands) on a general license. Hunters with a permit to hunt from a vehicle, as well as apprentice and youth hunters under the age of 16, can harvest antlerless whitetails all season long.