MISSOULA – Despite a slow start for hunters here in Western Montana, game harvest in the area has picked up recently.
Now with only a few days left in the hunting season, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks says big game harvests has matched last years totals.
Deer and elk harvests in Western and Central Montana have been picking up towards the end of the season and are now around the same numbers as last year.
“It was a really slow start to the season. We had a late, mild fall and so any time that happens it just takes awhile for harvests to pick up. So people stayed home, it wasn’t as active out there,” said Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Information and Education Manager Vivica Crowser. “We were not seeing the numbers of deer and elk through the check stations. Once we got a little bit of snow and it got colder and things picked up. And really we are on track to finish where we were last year and also with the five year average.”
FWP says that weather really is the deciding factor in what harvests look like at the end of the year.
“All in all, where we are sitting with regulations are more liberal generally than they have been, but they are on track with where they are last season and so it’s really weather that determines the outcome as much as anything,” Crowser said.
If you’re planning on going out on closing weekend, FWP says to follow all the hunting regulations and have fun.
“Few more days of season. It closes one half hour after sunset on Sunday night, so people have a little bit more opportunity,” Crowser said. “Nothing in particular, just remembering all those typical regulations that can catch people up. Having hunter orange, not shooting from a road or right away, paying attention to the sunrise/sunset times, but otherwise just getting out there and having fun at the end of the season,” Crowser said.