KALISPELL, Mont. - Hunters and game numbers are low compared to last year for all five check stations in Region 1 for the fourth weekend of hunting season.
According to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Region 1 check station summary the percentage of hunters with game is down about 3 percent. Last year it was 9.1 percent for all five check stations, and this year it is 6.8 percent.
The number of white-tailed bucks this year is 366, when last year it was 483. The number of mule deer bucks is also a lot less, with only 26 harvested, when last year it was 109. The number of elk harvested is the same as last year, at 58.
FWP Kalispell-area biologist Jessy Coltrane says the weather plays an important role in why the numbers are low.
"We have had some pretty challenging weather conditions. The snow is pretty icy now on top; it makes for difficult stalking, but we anticipate that we will see higher harvest levels this coming weekend as the white-tailed deer begin to rut," said Coltrane.
Coltrane added hunters have been reporting bad conditions and many Forest Service roads are impassible due to snow. She says the snow has a crust on top, so it is really loud.
She expects to see more hunters and more game harvested this weekend.