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MT: Hunting Harvest Slow But Steady

By KECI Staff

MISSOULA, Mont. — Hunting season is off to a slow start this year.

One week into general rifle season and Fish Wildlife and Parks agents say the harvest is trickling in.

Check stations are seeing better elk numbers from the Upper Clark Fork area near Deer Lodge and Anaconda. The deer harvest is low all over. FWP hopes the harvest picks up once the snow falls, which will stir up the animals and make them easier to track.

Vivica Crowser of Fish Wildlife and Parks tells NBC Montana, “If we see those things start to happen, then we could really see the season start to spike, hunter participation could spike, and we could see a fun middle to the season. Otherwise, It’s hard to tell. Probably, these trends will continue to play out where we are seeing stronger elk harvest in the eastern part of the region and mule deer kind of down overall and white tail the same.”

There were almost 10% fewer hunters out there for the first week, as compared to last year.

Nearly 8% who passed through one of the region’s three hunter check stations brought home game.

The three check stations in Western Montana tallied 5,593 hunters and a harvest of 266 elk, 47 mule deer, 124 white-tailed deer, three wolves and three black bears.