The 2012 general rifle hunting season is over for both deer and elk. Although the final numbers show an expected decrease in the elk harvest for region 2, deer numbers were down significantly compared to both 2011 and the five year average.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Vivica Crowser says the mule deer harvest was only down slightly, however "whitetail harvests were down 14% from 2011 even though we started off fairly strong and down 27% from the five year average."

Crowser says the harvest declines are largely due to stricter hunting regulations. Those regulations will continue through next hunting season as well and will likely be reevaluated in 2014.