Hunter numbers and harvests were still down over past years during the third weekend of operation at the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 6 game check station outside Havre.
Havre-area Wildlife Biologist Scott Hemmer said there were 91 parties with 189 hunters who passed through the check station during the weekend of Oct. 26-27.
“The majority of the hunters, 77 percent, passed through on Sunday,” Hemmer said. “A winter storm with some rain and snow was forecast to arrive on Sunday, so there were many hunters that reported leaving early in order to avoid the bad weather. The storm warning may have limited hunter participation, particularly with non-local hunters.”
Hunter numbers and harvest were down over the check station’s third weekend for all species except elk. Antelope harvest was still well below normal – a full 86 percent from last year and 95 percent below the long-term average.
“White-tailed deer harvest was also down significantly, as expected, due to the recent epizootic hemorrhagic disease outbreaks and a reduction in the number of licenses made available,” Hemmer said. “In fact, white-tailed deer harvest was down 90 percent from last year and 88 percent below the long-term average. Mule deer harvest was also down almost 50 percent.”
The one species for which harvest increased was elk, which was up 76 percent from the long-term average. The majority of elk checked were from Hunting District 622 in the Missouri River Breaks.
“Hunter reports of antelope and white-tailed deer numbers almost all agreed that numbers were well below average,” Hemmer said. “Mule deer reports were more mixed, but many hunters reported seeing fewer mule deer than they had in the past. Elk hunter reports were also mixed, with some hunters reporting seeing fewer elk, while others reported increased elk observations.”
Upland bird harvest was down over the check station’s third weekend, primarily due to a decrease in the number of bird hunters checked. There were also no waterfowl hunters checked in during the weekend.
Overall hunter numbers at the Havre check station so far this year have been down 12 percent from last year and 54 percent from the highs seen in 2010.
Logo courtesy Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks