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Deer harvest still lagging in Region 1

by Western News
| November 18, 2009 11:00 PM

The deer harvest around northwestern Montana is lagging well behind last year as well as historic averages three weeks into big-game hunting season. Meanwhile, the elk harvest is running close to last year’s success rates.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported that through Nov. 15, a total of 14,768 hunters had stopped at the six check stations in Region 1. As of that date, 589 whitetail deer had been checked compared to 814 at this time last year; 112 mule deer had been checked compared to 135 last year; and 115 elk had been checked compared to 109 last year.

The percentage of hunters with game is 5.5 percent this year, down from 6.7 percent a year ago.

The number of antlerless whitetail deer permits distributed this year was significantly reduced from last year, forcing hunters to rely on finding bucks.

Hunters had checked 311 bucks this season compared to 396 at this time last year, and that total is close to the record-low 310 bucks in 1997.