General rifle season has been going for two weeks, and according to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Public Information Officer Vivica Crowser, hunters have had a successful start.

"The three hunter check stations that we routinely run in the region: one near Darby, one near Bonner and one near Anaconda, have all shown us that we have an elk and white tail deer harvest that is higher than last year, and actually the white tail harvest is better than we've had since 2008," Crowser said.

The mule deer harvest is actually down, so far, for the year, but Crowser says that a decline was expected because of stricter hunting regulations. She says stricter hunting regulations from the past have led to an increase in elk and white tail populations this year.

"For the white tail harvest, if you look at Bonner, which is the check station that really measures that, we have a harvest so far of 157 deer, which is 19 percent above last year and 35 percent higher than the five year average. We've seen 218 elk through the three check stations so far, above the 155 at this time last last year."

The elk harvest this year is 36 percent higher than at the same time last year, however, the elk harvest is still below the five year average.

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