With all the recent snowfall, and the annual "rut" dating and mating season for the deer, you'd think the hunting successes would be climbing in the final week of Montana's general hunting season. That's not the case.
Some of the reasons are easy to explain - in the Bitterroot Valley, lower populations of elk and deer equate to less "A" and "B" hunting licenses. Less licenses equate to less hunters. Other reasons might include higher gas prices requiring hunters to be more strategic in their plans, with less time out in the woods.
Whatever the reason, overall in western Montana, the number of hunters coming through the check stations has dropped 12 percent from last year. 12,391 hunters this year, compared to 14,098 last year. Of those 7 percent had successful hunts.
The statewide wolf hunt has resulted in 89 wolves killed, with a year-end quota of 220. Only 9 wolves have been checked through the Darby check station. General hunting season ends Sunday evening, Nov 27.