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Big game hunting season concludes with mixed results in NW Montana

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News from MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks

KALISPELL — The general deer and elk hunting season concluded Nov. 27, 2022, and game check stations in northwest Montana reported mixed results.

More than 9,200 hunters appeared at check stations in northwest Montana. The overall number of hunters with harvested elk was up compared to a year ago while the number of hunters with deer was down. Click here to view a table that summarizes the results at four check stations this season.

The counts at the stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken. Hunter-harvest telephone surveys, conducted over the upcoming winter months, will provide more harvest data and information for biologists.

Many of Montana’s Wildlife Management Areas have seasonal closures from Dec. 2 through May 15 at noon to protect big game winter range. For more information, visit:

While the general hunting season ended last weekend, hunters will still have opportunities into winter. Certain areas have continued elk hunting opportunities, and there is also Montana’s muzzleloader heritage hunting season for deer and elk, Dec. 10-18, 2022.

Muzzleloader Heritage Hunting Season

A person may take a deer or elk with a license or permit that is valid on the last day of the general hunting season.

Any unused license-permit valid on the last day of the general season (i.e., Nov. 27, 2022) is valid during the muzzleloader heritage season.

Hunters can use plain lead projectiles and a muzzleloading rifle that is charged with loose black powder, loose pyrodex or an equivalent loose black powder substitute and ignited by a flintlock, wheel lock, matchlock or percussion mechanism using a percussion or musket cap.

The muzzleloading rifle must be a minimum of .45 caliber and may not have more than two barrels.

During the muzzleloader heritage season, hunters may not use a muzzleloading rifle that requires insertion of a cap or primer into the open breech of the barrel (inline), is capable of being loaded from the breech, or is mounted with an optical magnification device.

Use of pre-prepared paper or metallic cartridges, sabots, gas checks or other similar power and range-enhancing manufactured loads that enclose the projectile from the rifling or bore of the firearm is also prohibited.

Chronic Wasting Disease

Testing for chronic wasting disease is voluntary throughout the state. FWP can assist hunters with sample collection and submission, or hunters can submit samples themselves.

For assistance in northwest Montana, hunters can bring their animal to the FWP office in Kalispell, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the month of December.

FWP will cover the cost of testing hunter-harvested animals for CWD.

Contact a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office for more information. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.

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