The check station totals are lower this year than last year and the 5-year average, according to the Dept of Fish Wildlife and Parks.
Mike Thompson of Fish Wildlife and Parks said in a news release this week, "We've seen less hunters in the field this season, primarily in the southern Bitterroot, and a large reason for this is the really restricted hunting regulations in district 250 (the West Fork)." The restrictions were put in place because the numbers of elk in the area had decreased markedly in the past couple of years.
The Darby check station has checked 800 fewer hunters this year than last year, and that's about 50 percent less than five years ago.
Thompson also said the weather has been affecting the numbers, with no large snowstorm yet this year.
Harvest for mule deer and white-tailed deer is also lower than normal, but besides lower populations the warm weather is also a factor.
Hunters have reported taking 54 wolves so far this year, with a statewide quota of 220. The state is considering lengthening the season on wolves, at the same time a court is deciding whether the wolf hunt can continue at all.