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FWP: Above average mid-season numbers at west-central Montana hunter check stations

NW MT hunter check station
Posted at 2:26 PM, Nov 07, 2022

MISSOULA – Big game hunting season hits its midway mark this week.

According to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP), hunter check stations in west-central Montana are reporting elk and deer harvests up from last year and the five-year average.

The number of hunter trips through the check stations near Darby, Bonner and Anaconda totaled 4,772 for the first half of the season. During the season’s first three weekends, those hunters checked 179 elk, 53 mule deer and 185 white-tailed deer, compared to 119 elk, 52 mule deer and 137 white-tailed deer in 2021.

Elk harvest is up at all three stations, compared to 2021 and is the highest it has been in the region since 2017 at this point of the season. White-tailed deer harvest is also outpacing recent years, due in part to more liberal regulations in some hunting districts. Mule deer harvest is on track with last season and above the five-year average.

At the Fish Creek check station west of Missoula, historical data for the third weekend is not available, but FWP biologist, Ryan Klimstra, said despite heavy winds that made conditions difficult, animals are moving around and more available to hunters as the season draws on. Klimstra recorded 525 hunter trips through the check station so far this season with three elk, 26 white-tailed deer and one mule deer.

Hunters must stop at all check stations that they pass, even if they have not harvested any animals.

The general big game season runs through Sunday, Nov. 27.