Montana End-of-Season Hunter Check Station Figures Indicate Varied Harvest
HAVRE, Mont. –-(Ammoland.com)- Final figures compiled from the FWP Region 6 hunter game check station outside Havre show a higher number of white-tailed deer and mule deer were checked in as compared to other recent hunting seasons.
According to FWP biologist Scott Hemmer, the number of pronghorn antelope, elk, pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian (gray) partridge brought in was in each case less than the average checked in recent years.
This season 333 pronghorn antelope, 689 mule deer, 314 white-tailed deer, 33 elk, 707 pheasants, 156 sharp-tailed grouse and 50 Hungarian partridge were brought to the check station by hunters.
Hemmer said check station data indicate the 2010 antelope harvest was down 17 percent, the mule deer harvest was up 11 percent, the white-tailed deer harvest was up 24 percent, the pheasant harvest was down 32 percent, and the sharp-tailed grouse harvest was up 3 percent.
While numbers of elk and Hungarian partridge were also down this year, state biologists said not enough of these species come through the Havre check station to provide meaningful harvest trend data. FWP will also be conducting the annual telephone harvest survey this winter, which will give more accurate harvest information by species for individual hunting districts.
FWP Region 6 Wildlife Program Manger Mark Sullivan noted that mild fall temperatures and excellent habitat conditions during the first part of the big game season reduced movements and feeding activity by big game animals in many areas.
“Although big game numbers were generally good across the Region, animals were not very visible during the first half of the season,” Sullivan said. “Weather conditions changed abruptly during the fourth week of the season as temperatures dropped to well below freezing, and repeated snowfall made hunting conditions and travel difficult. This caused animals to be much more visible and concentrated, but hunter numbers dropped in many hunting districts the last two weekends due to snow, cold and poor road conditions.”
Sullivan said FWP field personnel noticed a significant increase in big game hunter numbers in Region 6, particularly in the hunting districts between Glasgow and Havre. Most of these were deer hunters who may have been displaced from other parts of the state due to lower deer numbers in their traditional hunting areas.