Hunting season ended with a bang just after sunset on Sunday, November 26. According to FWP spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser the checks stations were very busy over the weekend and the overall harvest ended mostly up, despite trailing last year’s harvest most of the season.

"If you look at the Darby check station in the southern Bitterroot Valley, that station actually saw numbers slightly up from last season," Crowser said. "With 169 elk, 33 mule deer and 69 white-tailed deer compared to 159 elk 22 mule deer and 68 white-tailed deer last year, so, not a huge different, but numbers were up so that was exciting."

The numbers coming through the Bonner check station were mostly down overall, especially for white-tail deer, though the check station was full of vehicles and game at dusk.

"At the Bonner hunter check station, there was a really busy final weekend with people getting out and about and with the deer rut on, I think there was better hunter success," Crowser said. "Those hunters that we saw through that check station harvested 74 elk, which was down from 95 last year, 65 mule deer which was up from 45 last year, and whitetail harvest ended still about a hundred deer below what we were at last year with 388."

The final harvest totals will take months to gather, though check station totals put this year on par with the past five years. From now through February, hunters can expect to receive a call from Montana FWP questioning whether or not, they were successful in filling their tags.