Hunter numbers and reported harvests at the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 6 game check station outside Havre are still down when compared to past years.
“Hunter numbers so far this year have only been about 2 percent lower than last year’s numbers, but they’re still down 38 percent from 2010 levels,” said Havre-area Wildlife Biologist Scott Hemmer. “Antelope and white-tailed deer are the two species that have seen the largest decreases in harvest.”
Region 6 antelope and deer numbers were heavily impacted by several recent hard winters. White-tailed deer populations in some areas have also been hit hard by repeated outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, also known as EHD.
Antelope license quotas have also been greatly reduced since 2010, and fewer antelope licenses were available in Region 6 in 2013 as compared to 2012.
Similar cuts have been made in the Region 6 white-tailed deer doe license quota, and sales of the over-the-counter license were suspended prior to the start of this year’s big game season.
Hemmer said the Havre-area check station results thus far this year show the Region 6 mule deer harvest being below the long-term average by about 42 percent. But it’s only about 9 percent below the harvest reported last year.
The Region 6 elk harvest has been up significantly, though.
Hemmer said the Region’s upland bird harvest has been below the long-term average, but the pheasant and Hungarian partridge harvest has been similar to last year.
“Waterfowl harvest was up the first few weeks, but no waterfowl hunters have been checked the past several weeks and harvest has dropped off,” he explained.
The Havre-area check station will continue to operate on weekends through the general big game hunting season, which ends on Dec. 1