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General hunting season down to final 10 days

by The Western News
| November 18, 2022 7:00 AM

The “rut” is getting cranked up in northwest Montana as the general hunting season winds down with less than two weeks remaining.

Montana’s deer and elk hunting season runs through Nov. 27.

So far this season, more than 6,100 hunters have appeared at regional game check stations with mixed results.

The overall number of hunters with harvested elk is up compared to a year ago while the number of hunters with deer is down. A table below summarizes the results from the first four weekends of the season at four check stations in northwest Montana.

Check stations are open on weekends during general deer and elk hunting season from 10 a.m. to approximately 1.5 hours past sunset. The regional stations are located at U.S. Highway 2 West of Kalispell, Montana Highway 83 north of Swan Lake, Highway 200 west of Thompson Falls, and Highway 93 near Olney.

Region 1 reminders

Elk hunting is brow-tined bull only in Region 1 (northwest Montana) except in Hunting District 170, unless a hunter has an antlerless elk permit or a Permit to Hunt from a Vehicle (PTHFV). A brow-tined bull is defined as, “any elk having an antler or antlers with a visible point on the lower half of either main beam that is greater than or equal to four inches long."

Youth ages 10-15 and hunters with a Permit to Hunt from a Vehicle (PTHFV) can still harvest either-sex whitetails throughout most of the region for the remainder of the season (check regulations for specifics). An “either-sex” deer is defined as, “a male or female animal of any age.”

Hunters who purchased the limited 199-20 either-sex white-tailed deer B license can only use that license within the Libby CWD Management Zone.

Mule deer buck hunting in the North Fisher portion of Hunting District 103 near Libby is permit-only with the 103-50 permit.

Chronic Wasting Disease

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

A CWD sampling station in Libby will operate Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, 10 a.m. to 1.5 hours past sunset at the Montana Department of Transportation shop on U.S. Highway 2 south of town. Hunters are not required to stop at the Libby CWD sampling station.

Hunters who want their animal sampled should leave 2 to 4 inches of the neck below the low jawbone and base of the skull to ensure lymph nodes are present and not inadvertently left with the carcass. Samples cannot be collected from frozen heads.

To help prevent the spread of CWD, all carcasses, including the head and spinal column, must be disposed of in a class II landfill after butchering and processing. Dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical and can spread diseases, including chronic wasting disease. This requirement applies to all deer, elk, and moose carcasses harvested by hunters or as vehicle-killed salvage.

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