White-tailed deer harvest remains steady and similar to last year’s totals in Northwest Montana, according to check-station data from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
At the six Region One check stations through a total of 10,977 hunters checked 785 white-tailed deer, including 497 bucks, through last Sunday.
Hunters also reported harvesting 113 mule deer and 60 elk for an 8.7 percent success rate.
Overall harvest was up 6.9 percent from last year, while the number of hunters is down about 8 percent.
According to regional wildlife manager Neil Anderson, the weekend’s warm weather created a challenge, but hunters reported seeing good numbers of deer.
“The rut has started,” Anderson stated in a press release. “Hunters reported seeing bucks chasing does, and as a result we did see some mature bucks come through the check stations. With the rut in full swing and cold weather, and possibly snow, coming this week, the upcoming weekend should be a good one.”
The counts at the six Northwest Montana check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.
Hunters are reminded that it is buck-only for whitetails in Northwest Montana. Antlerless whitetails remain legal game for properly licensed youth 10- to 15-years-old, and for adults permitted to hunt from a vehicle.
Mule deer are buck-only for the entire season and elk are brow-tine bull only. Spike bull elk are not legal game for any hunter in Region One.
Hunters have taken 26 wolves in Region One to date, compared with 20 wolves taken by the same time last year.
Statewide, hunters have taken 81 wolves as of Nov. 14 — 10 more than last year.