Montana's general hunting season wraps up Sunday
Sam Watson, right, and Carson Ramsden with her first harvested deer, taken in hunting district 170. (FWP courtesy photo)
KALISPELL — Montana’s general hunting season is winding down and concludes Sunday, Nov. 28.
Hunters still have time to harvest deer and elk across Montana, and additional opportunities are new this year as well. The new muzzleloader heritage hunting season runs Dec. 11-19, 2021. Any unused license or permit that is valid on the last day of the general season remains valid during the muzzleloader heritage season, which has specific regulations. The nine-day season was established when House Bill 242 was passed in the 2021 Legislative Session.
So far this season, northwest Montana hunter check stations are reporting a slightly more successful harvest overall compared to recent years, according to preliminary data. Overall, hunters have checked nearly 700 white-tailed deer, including 524 bucks, as well as 82 mule deer and 37 elk at the four regional Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks check stations that are open on weekends.
While the total number of hunters checked at the stations is noticeably down this year, the percentage of hunters with game is noticeably up compared to two years ago, 10.6 percent versus 8.7 percent in 2019. After five weeks in 2019, a total of 10,050 hunters had reported 641 white-tailed deer bucks and 61 mule deer. So far this year, a total of 7,692 hunters has reported 524 white-tailed bucks and 82 mule deer. The elk harvest figures are nearly identical from both years: 38 in 2019 compared to 37 this year. FWP did not operate weekend check stations in northwest Montana last year.
The counts at the stations represent a preliminary sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.
Check stations are open on weekends during hunting season from 10 a.m. to approximately 1.5 hours past sunset. The regional game check stations are located at U.S. Highway 2 West of Kalispell, Montana Highway 83 north of Swan Lake, Highway 200 west of Thompson Falls, and Highway 93 near Olney.
Hunters must stop at all check stations that they pass, even if they have not harvested any animals.