General hunting season underway in Montana
Four bull elk gather in a field along Montana 206 south of Columbia Falls in this March 2020 file photo. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
Montana’s general hunting season for deer and elk starts Saturday and runs through Nov. 28.
In Northwest Montana, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will operate game check stations at specific locations on weekends from 10 a.m. to approximately 1.5 hours past sunset.
The regional game check stations will be located at U.S. 2 2 west of Kalispell, Montana 83 north of Swan Lake, Montana 200 west of Thompson Falls, and U.S. 93 near Olney.
Hunters must stop at any check station they encounter whether they harvested an animal or not.
Northwest Montana (Region 1) Reminders
• Hunters should review the regulations for each hunting district they plan to hunt.
• Elk hunting is brow-tined bull only in Region 1 (Northwest Montana). Spike elk are not legal game in this region.
• Hunters who purchased the 199-20 either-sex white-tailed deer B license can only use that license within the Libby CWD Management Zone.
• Mule deer buck hunting in the North Fisher portion of Hunting District 103 near Libby is permit-only.
• Many private lands that were historically owned by corporate timber companies have changed ownership, and hunters should review the Block Management Program for Region 1 to view available public access opportunities and restrictions on private lands.
Chronic Wasting Disease
This year, FWP will continue surveillance for chronic wasting disease in specific areas known as Priority Surveillance Areas. In Northwest Montana, those areas include Hunting Districts 100, 103, 104, 120, 121, 122 and 170. In those specific areas, hunters are asked to voluntarily submit a sample from their animal. For instructions on how or where to submit a sample, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
Testing for CWD is voluntary throughout the state. FWP will assist hunters with sample collection and submission.
In Northwest Montana, hunters can bring their animal to the FWP office in Kalispell, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. FWP staff will also assist with CWD sample collection at game check stations when possible and safety allows, based on traffic at the station. Stopping at game check stations remains mandatory. FWP will cover the cost of testing hunter-harvested animals for CWD.
A CWD sampling station in Libby will operate Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, 10 a.m. to 1.5 hours past sunset at the Montana Department of Transportation shop on U.S. 2 south of town. Hunters are not required to stop at the Libby CWD sampling station.
Hunters who want their animal sampled should leave 2 to 4 inches of the neck below the low jawbone and base of the skull to ensure lymph nodes are present and not inadvertently left with the carcass. Samples cannot be collected from frozen heads.
To help prevent the spread of CWD, all carcasses, including the head and spinal column, must be disposed of in a class II landfill after butchering and processing. Dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical and can spread diseases, including chronic wasting disease.
This requirement applies to all deer, elk, and moose carcasses harvested by hunters or as vehicle-killed salvage.
For questions, call 406-752-5501 or visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd