Bitterroot Elk Harvest is Lowest in Over 5 Years
General hunting season in Montana is over. The final day was Sunday, November 27, and the harvest numbers at the Darby check station were lower in the three major categories.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) figures showed the biggest drop in elk numbers - over 100 less than last year. The Darby station checked through 139 elk. Last year 241 elk were harvested. The number is much lower than the annual figures for the last five years.
Vivaca Crowser of FWP said the weather was the main factor with warm temperatures and lack of snow causing the elk to stay in the high country. She said the elk numbers for western Montana were 36 percent below last year.
White-tailed deer harvest was up for all of Region 2, but not in the Bitterroot, where 81 deer were taken, five less than last year. Mule deer numbers were five less than last year - 23 mule deer.
Some areas in the state are still open for hunting in what are called "Shoulder seasons," but all those districts are east and north of the Bitterroot Valley. Shoulder seasons occur mainly on private land and and are for antlerless elk. For more information on the restrictions on shoulder seasons, check the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website.