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Deer Harvest Better, Elk Harvest Worse Than Last Year

Rocky Mountain Elk
Photo courtesy of tuchodi/Flickr

The first full week of open rifle season has passed and harvests for both mule deer and white-tailed deer are up 23% compared to last year. Elk harvests, on the other hand, are down by nearly the same amount.

A total of 58 mule deer, 153 white-tailed deer 204 elk along with one black bear, one bighorn sheep, and moose have been harvested so far. Roughly 9% of all 4,901 hunters to pass through one of Region 2’s three check stations had harvested an animal.

One way of explaining the downturn in the elk harvest could be new restrictions. “Local hunters may be focusing more effort on deer hunting, now that elk hunting regulations are so restrictive in the East and West Forks of the Bitterroot,” FWP Region 2 Wildlife Manager, Mike Thompson, says.

Region 2 has produced much of this year’s wolf harvest. Of the 31 wolves taken so far this year, 11 have come from from region 2. According to FWP spokeswoman Vivica Crowser, “the Missoula office sees one to two wolves every day.”

With an extended wolf season and a new trapping season, there will likely be more wolves taken this year than ever before.

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