Elk Harvests Up, Deer Harvests Down During First Week of Hunting Season
Hunting season is well underway and according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Vivica Crowser Elk hunters in Western Montana have been doing better in 2013 than last year.
"The elk harvest is slightly ahead of where we were last year in west-central Montana," Crowser said. "Most of that is due to the success that hunters have been finding in the east fork of the Bitterroot. So far, we've had 220 elk come through our Region 2 check stations in the first week of the season, compared to 204 last year. So, not a huge bump from last year's week one, but enough, and we've still got almost a month left in the season."
There isn't a lot of good news for deer hunters yet though.
"With deer, we're sitting at about 25 percent behind where we were last year and behind the long-term average," Crowser said. "A lot of that comes down to when the rut kicks in and when the snow starts to hit the ground too. So, what we may see play out over the next month is a very similar harvest. It's so early with deer that it's really hard to tell."
Harvests for both 2012 and 2013 are expected to be lower than the long term average because of new restrictions put in place to help increase both deer and elk populations.