White-tailed Deer, Elk Harvest Up on Rocky Mountain Front

By BRUCE AUCHLY for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks 

Hunters on the Rocky Mountain Front took home more elk and white-tailed deer than average but fewer mule deer during the general big game season, which ended Nov. 25.

The numbers were collected at Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ check station in Augusta, says Brent Lonner, FWP wildlife biologist.

“The elk harvest was very good,” Lonner says. “In fact, it was probably the best in at least the last 15 years.”

While 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, they often mirror conditions elsewhere in north central Montana.

Elk hunters brought in 463 animals (122 bulls, 286 cows and 55 calves) compared to the 10-year average of 281 elk.

With whitetails, this year’s count in Augusta was 315 (183 bucks, 101 does and 31 fawns), while the 10-year average is 291.

Mule deer numbered 279 at the check station (252 bucks, 25 does and two fawns). The 10-year average is 377 animals.

In total, hunters brought in 1,086 animals, including deer, elk, mountain goats, black bears and two wolves, to the Augusta check station.

Hunter numbers were up at 4,186, which is up about 20 percent above the 10-year average.