Montana Hunting Season Ends With a Bank and a Whimper
General rifle season ended on Sunday, right before the first widespread snowfall in western Montana. According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Public Information Officer Vivaca Crowser the hunting season had both highs and lows.
"We actually had the highest white tail deer harvest reported since 2010 so it was definitely a good year to be a deer hunter here in western Montana," Crowser said. "Elk harvest, boy if we had had the snow start to fall earlier, I think it would've helped hunters. We ended up about 36 percent under last year and quite a bit under the long term average as well."
Many have blamed the lack of snow for a poor elk harvest. This year marks the second in a row where Montana had a relatively warm winter and Crowser was asked if FWP had considered shifting hunting season in response.
"It would be something that we would talk about and look at but the seasons dates where they sit now have been that way for such a long time i don't see us doing anything dramatic that way," Crowser said. "I see us looking instead how we might want to make some adjustments to the regulations within those shoulder seasons."
The size of the harvest gauged by the check stations is not complete and FWP will begin calling hunters in December for a more accurate count, the results of which will be available in the spring.