Successful hunting season draws to close

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Northwest Montana hunters wrapped up another successful big game season on Sunday.

A total of 17,656 hunters had checked 1,494 white-tailed deer, 146 mule deer and 72 elk at six regional check stations as the season drew to a close on Nov. 27. The totals combined for a success rate of 9.7 percent, slightly higher than the 8.2 percent success rate for hunters with game last year. The number of hunters passing through check stations in northwest Montana was down 4 percent.

The 1,069 number of whitetail bucks checked this year was nearly identical to last years total of 1,067. Both figures were greater than harvests during the previous five seasons.

Region One Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson notes that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has been tracking several years of good fawn survival in northwest Montana, and the check station samples this year confirm that hunters were able to see and take good numbers of white-tailed deer despite mild hunting conditions. Elk numbers at the check stations were down slightly and mule deer numbers were up.

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. Details of total harvest for each hunting district will be known after telephone hunter surveys are completed this winter.

In addtion to deer and elk, hunters in northwest Montana Region One have taken 34 wolves so far. Statewide, hunters have taken 106 wolves. These totals are up slightly from last year at the end of the general deer and elk season. The wolf-hunting season continues until March 15. Hunters can still purchase a wolf-hunting license, but there is a 24-hour waiting period before it is valid. Wolf trapping begins on Dec. 15. Wolf trappers must purchase a furbearer-trapping license and have completed the wolf trapping certification course to trap wolves. The bag limit is five wolves per hunter or trapper in any combination of hunting or trapping.

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