The freak October storm that hit western Montana and brought record cold and snow just happened to coincide with the first weekend of general rifle season in Montana.

Education and Program Manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region Two Vivaca Crowser said the hardier souls ventured forth into the weather but had limited success that first weekend.

“It’s good to have that cold and that snow for hunters, but maybe not quite as much as we saw,” said Crowser. “What our check station results showed us is that there just weren't quite as many people out and about, and that's what our folks in the field saw as well. People would give it a try and then head home because it was just so cold and snowy and some of those roads got pretty treacherous pretty fast.”

Crowser provided the numbers for Region Two.

“We saw 76 elk, 12 mule deer, and 43 white tail deer through our three regular check stations and that was down, so 76 elk was down from 99 last season; our 12 mule deer was pretty comparable the last season and then our 43 whitetail was down from 71 in 2019.”

Crowser provided safety information for all hunters who are heading out this weekend.

“You want to make sure you have everything with you that you need in case you get stuck overnight,” she said. “Oftentimes we head out for the day can't anticipate that we would get stuck, but things can come up, so make sure you have extra food and shelter. Let somebody know when you're expected back or if you have a GPS device that can communicate, make sure that's charged up and, and ready in case of an emergency. Make sure that you have left a detailed plan of where you're headed, and then always make sure you check where you're going; check those conditions, ask around and get the information to keep you safe.”

The general rifle season runs through November 29.