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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Warmer weather, lower harvest totals for general hunting season this year

Posted at 12:18 PM, Dec 05, 2023

Very few of us would question how unseasonably nice the past few weeks have been across most of the state. While that makes it nice for driving, it was a challenge for those taking to the field for the general hunting season.  MTN's Chet Layman takes a look at some of the numbers for Region 3.

BOZEMAN — Make no mistake about it, hunting success hinges on the weather. The good weather of this season was nice for driving around town—not great for stalking big game. Overall success in Region 3 was average to below average. In some areas—well, there are more animals still in the field than there is food in the freezer this year.

“Places like Divide south of Butte, we did see lower than average hunter success there. In Cameron, you know kind of south of Ennis, that area, hunters’ success was near an historical low on the fifth weekend of the general season, then it picked back up again on the final week of the general season,” said Morgan Jacobsen, information and education manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 3.

Whether you were successful or not, FWP needs you to stop by those check stations. The more information on success or failure they have this year, the better officials can predict how hunting will go in upcoming seasons.

“Really kind of gives us a snapshot of, one, how many hunters are out there and how are they doing. And then we pair that data with the information we glean from our hunter harvest phone survey at the end of the year,” Jacobsen said. “And combined, that really gives us a really solid picture of how hunting season went and it helps inform hunting seasons into the future.”

This season here in Region 3, FWP talked to a little more than 6,000 hunters at game check stations who harvested 66 white tail, 152 mule deer, and 310 elk.