Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

BOZEMAN – Hunter numbers were down slightly between the third and fourth weeks of hunting season, with 1,038 hunters coming through Region 3 game check stations over the weekend, compared with 1,213 the weekend prior. Overall success in harvest was down to 5.5 percent, with the best numbers seen at the Cameron station, south of Ennis.

Biologists and volunteers staffing check stations said many hunters commented on the especially cold weekend temperatures. The region’s overall average high for the weekend was at 17 degrees with an average low of five degrees. Most hunters reported seeing lots of animal sign, and many others reported seeing groups of elk.

Once again, Silver City, located just north of Helena, checked the most hunters (375), and Mill Creek, located south of Anaconda and west of Butte by the Big Hole River, saw the fewest. Hunters targeting mule deer bucks had the most success, and the least success harvesting does.

Although the cold weather caused a decrease in Region 3 hunter numbers and thus a lower harvest, Region 2 reports from west-central Montana show the change in weather prompted greater hunter success over the third week of hunting season.

This season’s elk harvest in Region 2 remains 20 percent behind last year, while deer totals continue to be up. The elk harvest in Region 3 remains on trend with last year’s numbers.