Front Elk Harvest Up, Deer Average And Below

Elk hunters on the Rocky Mountain Front are doing well three weeks into Montana’s five-week, big game season, according to data collected by Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The elk harvest as collected at FWP’s Augusta check station is about 25 percent above the 10-year average.

Through the third week of the five-week deer and elk general season hunters have taken 200 elk. The 10-year average is 151.

Part of the reason could be hunter effort.

“Hunter effort thus far has been good,” says Brent Lonner, FWP wildlife biologist, “with 1,829 hunters checked in at Augusta. The five-year average is 1,615 hunters.”

For deer, the white-tailed deer harvest is close to average with hunters checking in 141 animals versus the 10-year average of 149.

Mule deer, numbers, however are down. This year hunters have brought in 147 mule deer compared with the 10-year average of 182.

“For mule deer,” Lonner says, “the major reduction this year thus far has been the buck harvest. Part of the reason for the lower harvest is the continued below average overall mule deer numbers in the area.”

While 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, they often mirror conditions elsewhere in north central Montana.

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