Hunter harvest picked up the last two weekends of the general deer and elk season, but numbers were down a bit from the same weekend last year. Staff and volunteers checked 1294 hunters with 18 white-tailed deer, 48 mule deer, and 62 elk. The percentage of hunters with game jumped from just over 8% in the fifth weekend to nearly 10% in the sixth (and final) weekend.

Reports from the check stations indicate that many of those who enjoyed a successful hunt found their animals up high. Region 3 Wildlife Manager Howard Burt said “Given our relatively mild start to the winter, we had a slow, but moderate harvest. That recent bit of snow certainly helped our last minute hunters.”

Here’s a look at the final weekend data:

2012 R3 Check Station Summary – Weekend 6, Nov. 24 & 25
Check StationHuntersWhite-tailed DeerMule DeerElk% Hunters w/ Game
  MFJuvTot.MFJuvTot.MFJuvTot. 
Gallatin1320000300335088.30%
Cameron3263126800817512311.30%
Divide23123051620186411114.70%
Mill Creek1220101300303035.70%
Silver City4834116115016593178.10%
Totals12949631841704831265629.90%

Overall, this year’s numbers dipped only somewhat from last year in terms of the percentage of hunters with game (from 7.7% in 2011 to 6.9% in 2012). Otherwise numbers are quite similar for the last two seasons when comparing the same check stations (Gallatin only operated the first and last weekend, and Livingston was not open at all).

Image courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

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