The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is reporting a close to average success rate for hunters during the first week of general deer and elk season.

Information and Program Manager for District Two, Vivaca Crowser provides the numbers from area check stations.

“All in all it was a pretty average start for the season,” said Crowser. “There are some exceptions. There were a few places in the region where we saw more elk harvested for example than we’ve seen in quite a few years. I think that can be attributed to the early wintry weather we’ve had. We’ve got wildlife moving faster down into places where we typically wouldn’t see them until later in the season.”

Crowser provided numbers from the three check stations in Region Two.

“We saw 2,325 hunters and 179 animals all in all,” she said. “By species, we had 99 elk come through the check stations, and we had 71 whitetail deer. It’s a five week season so we still have the bulk of the season left.”

Crowser said it’s the law for every hunter to stop at a check station, no matter if they were successful or not.

“We gather the trends for harvest success,” she said. “We see how many folks were out hunting and how many were successful, and we may ask you other things about what you saw out in the field and other observations.”

Crowser said there were no reported hunting accidents and no injuries during the first week in Region Two.

“There were no reports during the opening weekend, but there are usually one or two stories as the season wears on,” she said. “We ask hunters to remember those basic rules of safety. Be extra careful around vehicles because that’s where firearms accidents tend to happen.”

Crowser said to also be watchful for bears.

“Even though it feels like the middle of winter right now, bears are still out, so it’s really important to remember that too, especially when you’re hunting because that really increases the risk of an encounter,” she said. “Every hunter should always carry bears spray at hand and know how to use it. It’s better to have a hunting partner so that one can dress the game while the other stands watch in case bears may be in the area.”

Get more details on hunting safety by clicking here.