MISSOULA – West-central Montana hunter check stations are reporting a harvest ahead of last year for deer and elk going into the final week of the general season.
According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), hunter traffic through the stations slowed a bit during the fourth week of the season as bitter cold temperatures impacted much of the region.
Despite the cold, hunters that did pass through the four FWP hunter check stations had a bit higher success than last year.
Check stations in west-central Montana are reporting 8,205 hunter stops with 274 total elk, 95 mule deer and 421 white-tailed deer compared to 167 elk, 94 mule deer and 381 white-tailed deer at this point in the 2021 season.
At the hunter check station just outside of Bonner, harvests of elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer are all up from last year.
The check station near Darby is up from last season in all categories except mule deer harvest, which is just slightly under 2021 but just above the five-year average.
The check stations near Anaconda and in the Fish Creek area near Alberton both reported their slowest weekend of the season, but overall totals are in line with this point last year.
The Fish Creek station saw 15 white-tailed bucks over the weekend.
Hunters have just under a week left of general deer and elk hunting opportunities and a forecast that offers slightly milder hunting conditions.
FWP notes that the snow that has been on the ground all season in most places, combined with extra wildlife movement in the later part of the season, should continue to boost hunter success.
The general deer and elk rifle season continues through, Sunday, Nov. 27.