Posted: Oct 19, 2012 6:39 AM by Robin O'Day - KPAX News
Updated: Oct 19, 2012 7:17 AM
MISSOULA- September was so dry in Missoula that we broke our own dry spell record set back in 1969. And as general hunting season opens this weekend, one question being asked is how will past weather conditions affect the big day?
This summer was rough for everyone. Hot, dry and smoky. A combination which made early rifle season a nightmare for hunters.
"Conditions were very hard. The animals were up high, warm evenings and super hot days. Very slow hunting, it slowed down the bugle and our success rates were lower than normal," professional guide Gary Gilchrist said.
Then the weather shifted, with some solid rain showers and a dip in temperatures. The shift in weather also means a significantly better hunting season.
"Of course, after the big storms that hit, right there in early October, things really loosened up, push the animals down, got a lot more movement, lot more bugle, lot more talking," says Gilchrist.
Many local outfitters say this hunting season will be fine, despite the warm and dry start of early rifle season, but how do game populations look so far?
"Generally speaking, they're good. There are places where they are not good and they are being hampered for different reasons, but generally speaking, the animals are out there, explained Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Public Relations Director Mark Holyoak.
As multiple generations lace up their boots, some for the first time, they're building family memories and much more.
"To get out there and to solidify relationships that you have...not just father and son...father and daughter or mother and daughter, but also the relationship between us and nature," says Holyoak.
General hunting season officially opens Saturday, while youth hunting opened on Thursday.