KALISPELL — Hunters were more successful last weekend across northwest Montana as the big game hunting season approaches its final weeks.
Activity picked up at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ five game check stations in Region 1. The number of mule deer harvested has significantly increased over last year with 64 bucks checked compared to 26 after the fourth weekend of last season. The number of reported white-tailed deer and elk remain below last year’s numbers, as well as the total number of hunters.
So far this season, 9,110 hunters have checked 436 white-tailed deer, 64 mule deer and 46 elk. The overall hunter success rate in the region this year is 6 percent, compared to 6.8 percent a year ago.
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“We are starting to get reports of bucks showing rutting behavior, and a few large bucks came through the check stations” said Neil Anderson, FWP’s Region 1 wildlife manager. “The bucks are becoming more active and we had a few hunters reporting success with rattling antlers. It’s a great time of year to be out in the woods in northwest Montana. Hopefully, sportsmen will have the opportunity to spend some time in the field.”
The counts at the hunter check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken. Hunters are required to stop at game check stations they encounter, even if they have not harvested an animal.