KALISPELL — State wildlife officials say it was a good start to the general hunting season in northwest Montana.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) reports the opening of the general deer and elk hunting season produced the highest number of harvested white-tailed deer at game check stations in northwest Montana since 2017.
Overall, hunters in northwest Montana (Region 1) reported harvesting 209 white-tailed deer, including 102 bucks, as well as 12 mule deer and 21 elk at four check stations.
The overall number of hunters reported at check stations was down, possibly due to hunters being confused about whether stopping was required. Last year FWP replaced the mandatory regional check stations with voluntary chronic wasting disease sample stations.
This year, FWP is back operating mandatory game check stations at specific locations on weekends from 10 a.m. to approximately 1½ hours past sunset. The regional game check stations are located at U.S. Highway 2 West of Kalispell, Montana Highway 83 north of Swan Lake, Highway 200 west of Thompson Falls, and Highway 93 near Olney.
Hunters must stop at any check station they encounter whether they harvested an animal or not.
“The white-tailed deer harvest in the region was the highest to start the season since 2017,” said Neil Anderson, FWP Regional Wildlife Manager. “We predicted a slight increase in white-tailed deer population due to high fawn recruitment after two years of mild winter.”
FWP notes the counts at the stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken. The general deer and elk season runs through Nov. 28, 2021.