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Northwest Montana hunter success rates continue to lag

November 20, 2018

The big-game hunting season is down to the final days across Montana and activity in the field is ramping up with the arrival of colder weather.

The general hunting season ends Nov. 25. Activity at game check stations in Northwest Montana has increased recently, although overall numbers remain down from previous years for reported hunters, white-tailed deer and elk, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

So far, 11,574 hunters have checked 583 white-tailed deer, including 388 bucks, as well as 82 mule deer and 52 elk. Overall hunter success is 6.2 percent compared to 7.5 percent a year ago.

“The final week of hunting season is always exciting,” said Neil Anderson, FWP Region 1 wildlife manager. “Hopefully the weather will improve for hunting conditions. We hope everyone enjoys a safe time in the woods as the season wraps up.”

The U.S. 2 area has been the busiest with 4,853 hunters stopping at that check station. The success rate there is 6.1 percent. The Olney check station has had the highest success rate at 8.7 percent. The most elk have come from the Thompson Falls station, with 23 accounted for of the 52 total taken in Northwest Montana.

Overall hunter participation remains at its lowest level in a decade.

The counts at the hunter check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken. Hunters are required to stop at game check stations they encounter, even if they have not harvested an animal.

Either-sex white-tailed deer can be harvested across most of the region from Nov. 19-25 on private lands, excluding private timberlands such as Weyerhaeuser, Stoltze and Stimson property. Check the hunting regulations for more district-specific information.

Mule deer buck hunting in the North Fisher portion of Hunting District 103 near Libby is permit-only.

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