Numbers of white-tailed deer harvested are up while mule deer and elk taken by hunters are below the long-term average on a portion of the Rocky Mountain Front through the second weekend of Montana’s 2018 general big game season, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
“The white-tailed deer harvest is 28 percent above both the 10-year average and compared to last year at this time,” said Brent Lonner, FWP wildlife biologist.
A significant increase in antlerless harvest is the reason, Lonner said.
“Many hunters are using the Region 4 antlerless whitetail B licenses given the strong number of whitetails in the area,” he said.
However, mule deer and elk are 43 percent and 39 percent, respectively, below the 10-year average.
“It’s likely from mild weather making access to these animals harder, which also leads to lower than normal hunter participation so far this season,” Lonner said.
Unlike mule deer and elk, white-tailed deer are not influenced as much by the mild weather in the greater Augusta area given their normal presence in lowland areas.
The numbers at the Augusta check station – FWP Region 4’s sole biological check station – apply only to a handful of hunting districts on the Rocky Mountain Front.
Elk hunters so far have brought in 38 elk (17 bulls, 18 cows and three calves) compared to the long-term average of 62 elk.
Mule deer at the check station have numbered 27 (24 bucks, two does and one fawn). The long-term average is 47 animals.
With whitetails, this year’s count in Augusta stands at 55 (14 bucks, 29 does and 12 fawns), while the 10-year average is 43.
The general deer and elk season runs through November 25.