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Big game season enters final weekend

by Daily Inter Lake
| November 22, 2022 12:00 PM

The elk harvest for Region 1 continues to trend ahead of last year as the general big game season enters its final weekend in Montana.

So far this season, more than 7,300 hunters have appeared at game check stations in Northwest Montana, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The overall number of hunters with harvested elk is up compared to a year ago while the number of hunters with deer is down.

Fifty-four elk have been harvested in the region, with 28 coming from the U.S. 2 check station west of Kalispell.

The white-tailed deer harvest was at 553 for the region, which is behind the 697 reported last season at this time.

The Olney check station leads the way in the region with 10.8% of hunters with game.

Check stations are open on weekends during general deer and elk hunting season from 10 a.m. to approximately 1.5 hours past sunset. The regional stations are located at U.S. 2 west of Kalispell, Montana 83 north of Swan Lake, Montana 200 west of Thompson Falls, and U.S. 93 near Olney.

Montana’s general deer and elk season wraps up Sunday, Nov. 27.

While the general hunting season ends after this week, hunters will still have opportunities into winter. Certain areas have continued elk hunting opportunities, and there is also Montana’s muzzleloader heritage hunting season for deer and elk, Dec. 10-18, 2022.

Muzzleloader Heritage Hunting Season

• A person may take a deer or elk with a license or permit that is valid on the last day of the general hunting season.

• Any unused license-permit valid on the last day of the general season (i.e., Nov. 27, 2022) is valid during the muzzleloader heritage season.

• Hunters can use plain lead projectiles and a muzzleloading rifle that is charged with loose black powder, loose pyrodex or an equivalent loose black powder substitute and ignited by a flintlock, wheel lock, matchlock or percussion mechanism using a percussion or musket cap.

• The muzzleloading rifle must be a minimum of .45 caliber and may not have more than two barrels.

• During the muzzleloader heritage season, hunters may not use a muzzleloading rifle that requires insertion of a cap or primer into the open breech of the barrel (inline), is capable of being loaded from the breech, or is mounted with an optical magnification device.

• Use of pre-prepared paper or metallic cartridges, sabots, gas checks or other similar power and range-enhancing manufactured loads that enclose the projectile from the rifling or bore of the firearm is also prohibited.

• Many of Montana’s Wildlife Management Areas have seasonal closures from Dec. 2 through May 14. Before heading to the field, hunters need to check the hunting regulations to make sure they are compliant. A list of WMAs and their seasonal closure dates is also available online.

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