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'We are doing this to fill our freezer': General hunting season kicks off in Montana

The Bonner game check station sees elk, whitetail, mule deer
Posted at 6:33 PM, Oct 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 10:39:34-04

BONNER — Montana's general hunting season started this weekend.

At the game check station north of Bonner, lots of trucks and trailers pulled up after a weekend out in the woods.

“So we set up three lanes for traffic, two unsuccessful lanes, and generally we get more traffic in those," Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) Wildlife Biologist Scott Eggeman told MTN News.

Many hunters go home empty handed, but some catch a lucky break filling tags like Ashliee Trowbridge

“I'm pretty happy because I haven't been hunting in like seven years because of school so pretty stoked," Trowbridge said.

Hunters see success at start of deer/elk rifle season
Ashliee Trowbridge fills deer tag opening weekend at Bonner game check station.

Trowbridge's buck was determined to be 2½ years old based on tooth wear patterns.

“I think we’ve had a half dozen elk so far," Eggeman said and mentioned the Bonner check station’s also had Whitetails and Mule Deer come through this weekend.

Back in East Missoula, a house of hunters prepped for opening weekend.

“I've never shot an elk so hopefully this year, it will happen," Megan Treece told MTN News.

Treece, who is a teacher at Sussex school, and roommate Madeline Damon, a graduate student at UM, both grew up with the sport.

“I have been hunting, since I was 12 about," Damon said - her dad and grandpa taught her.

It's a similar story for Treece; “I grew up hunting with my dad and my grandpa like every Thanksgiving we would do a big hunting trip or I would go out on the weekend with my dad.”

It’s obvious at this home, hunting is a way of life.

Hunting is a lifestyle for many Montanans
MTN News caught up with several hunters at the start of the elk/deer rifle season. This sign hung on their door.

“We've always been in the mindset of like we are doing this to fill our freezer," Treece explained.

“We're doing this for the memories and the process of knowing where our meat comes from, and so that's something that like really resonates with me," she continued.

After getting into the backcountry, checking in with game stations is mandatory, whether you harvest an animal or not.

Testing for chronic wasting disease is optional. For more information visit fwp.mt.gov.