KALISPELL – A Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks report shows fewer hunters went out, and those who did, had a tougher time harvesting game this season.
FWP says that several factors worked to hunters’ disadvantage, including unseasonably warm weather, and poor tracking conditions throughout the season.
Wildlife biologists also attribute back-to-back harsh winters that appeared to have had an impact on local herds in parts of the region, effects not seen since the mid 90’s.
The five regional check stations in FWP’s Region 1, tallied a combined total of 950 white-tailed deer, including 676 bucks, harvested this season. That is down from recent years, with 1,275 and 925 from the year before.
However, there were 100 mule deer checked this season, which is nearly twice as many as last season, 51.
The number of checked elk was 58, 20 fewer than a year ago.
The total number of hunters checked is also less at 14,615, down from 16,269 in 2017 and 16,453 the year before.
The overall percentage of hunters with game that drove through a check station was about 1% lower than a year ago, 8.6% to 7.6%.
FWP will gain more complete game harvest information with its annual telephone surveys with hunters this winter and spring.