By BRUCE AUCHLY
It’s a mixed bag at the end of the third weekend of Montana’s big game general season on the Rocky Mountain Front: elk harvest numbers are improving, mule deer taken remain below average and white-tailed deer numbers continue to be above the 10-year average, a state wildlife biologist says.
The numbers were collected at Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ check station in Augusta.
“Elk harvest is at eight-percent below the 10-year average,” says Brent Lonner, FWP wildlife biologist, “but that’s an improvement from a week ago when the harvest was 25 percent below the long-term average. Mild weather continues to be one of the main factors for lower than normal elk harvest.”
The numbers at the Augusta check station – FWP Region 4’s sole biological check station – apply only to a handful of hunting districts on the Rocky Mountain Front.
Elk hunters so far have brought in 114 animals (53 bulls, 53 cows and eight calves) compared to the 10-year average of 124 elk.
Mule deer at the check station have numbered 72 bucks. The 10-year average is 97 animals.
White-tailed deer numbers this year in Augusta stand at 85 (48 bucks, 24 does and 13 fawns), while the 10-year average is 78.
The big game general season ends Nov. 29.