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Hunting activity remains steady in west-central Montana

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Posted at 1:38 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 15:38:34-05

MISSOULA — State wildlife officials report that west-central Montana hunter check stations remained steady with hunter traffic over the weekend.

Cumulative season harvest totals for elk, white-tailed deer, and mule deer are on track with average in some spots and lag a bit behind in other parts of the region.

At the check station just south of Darby, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) biologist Rebecca Mowry reported numbers that are on par with the past three years.

So far this season, the Darby station has checked 146 elk (100% of average), 54 white-tailed deer (99% of average), and 27 mule deer (96% of average), while checking 2,930 hunters (86% of average). Hunter success so far is 7.9% compared with an average of 6.8% in the past three years.

At the Bonner check station, FWP biologist Scott Eggeman reported season harvest totals that are lower than the past three years at this point of the season.

The station has tallied 32 elk (49% of average), 262 white-tailed deer (79% of average), and 26 mule deer (74% of average), while checking 4,142 hunters (88% of average). Hunter success so far is 7.8%, compared with an average of 9.2% in the past three years.

At the check station near Anaconda, FWP biologist Julie Golla reported cumulative harvest totals of 32 elk, 19 white-tailed deer and 13 mule deer, while checking 655 hunters.

These totals are not directly comparable with other years because Anaconda Check Station was not operated on the third weekend this season due to staff illness.

However, the hunter success of 9.9% is higher than in any year since before 1997.FWP biologist Liz Bradley operated the Fish Creek check station in Mineral County on the fifth weekend and reported a harvest of 22 white-tailed deer and 7 mule deer among 325 hunters checked, for a success rate of 8.9%.

Hunters have about a week left of general deer and elk hunting opportunity. The season continues through, Sunday, Nov. 29.