The snow storms have just started to move into the region, and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks officials believe that will increase the hunting harvest of elk.

The elk in the Bitterroot Valley move down out of the high country in the winter. If it's during general hunting season, of course, the success rate for hunters goes up. So far this year, 92 elk have been taken, according to the Darby Check Station, and that's up from last year at this time (88 elk), but below the five-year average.

Darby also reported 15 mule deer and 30 white-tailed deer. The Bonner check station, meanwhile, noted 114 white-tailed deer and 15 mule deer, but only 24 elk.

Hunter success rate was up a bit from 7.8 percent last week to 8.3 percent this week and 1,649 hunters checked through the Darby station.

By the way, white-tailed deer harvest, at 155 animals for the West-Central area, was highest since 2008, according to Montana FWP.

The area's check stations are run by FWP biologists and student volunteers from the University of Montana.