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Opening weekend game harvest productive

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News from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

NORTHWEST MONTANA — Harvest of big game during the first weekend of general deer and elk season was double the rate of last year’s opening weekend. At the six northwest Montana check stations, a total of 3,361 hunters checked 350 white-tailed deer of which 159 were bucks, 27 mule deer, and 31 elk for a 12.1 percent rate of hunters with big game.

Total numbers of hunters through Region One check stations was the highest it’s been since 2010. White-tailed deer harvest was up largely due to the ability of hunters to harvest an antlerless whitetail on a general hunting license, according to FWP Region One Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson. Nearly one-half of the hunters harvesting a white-tailed deer harvested an antlerless deer, and of those harvesting an antlerless deer most used their general license.

Whitetail buck harvest was also up this year, being the highest since 2010 for an opening weekend. Elk and mule deer harvest was also up compared to the last two years.

“Overall it was a great opening weekend,” Anderson said. “We had a lot of hunters in the field and a high percentage of them were filling tags.”

The ability to harvest an antlerless whitetail deer on a general A-tag ended Friday.

Youth hunters 15 years of age and younger, and people with disabilities permitted to hunt from a vehicle, can take antlerless white-tailed deer through the end of the season.

Hunters are reminded that elk hunting is brow-tined bull only and spike elk are not legal game. These regulations apply in most Region One hunting districts. Hunters are encouraged to check the Montana hunting regulations for the district you plan to hunt before heading out to the field.

Hunters are also reminded to be bear-aware and properly store food and manage carcasses properly both in the field and at home.

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