Cold weather doesn’t deter SE Montana hunters

Fish, Wildlife & Parks

MILES CITY — Despite the wintry conditions that marked the final weekend of the Pronghorn season, many hunters still got through the control stations in southeast Montana on Sunday.

Hysham

Sixty-five hunting parties and 130 hunters came through and brought back six antelope (two bucks, four roe deer/fawns), 38 mule deer (36 bucks, two roe deer) and 34 white-tailed deer (20 bucks, 14 roe deer) and one elk.

“The total number of mule deer surveyed was below average, but that is to be expected with the targeted reduction in Region 7 antlerless mule deer licenses,” said FWP biologist Steve Atwood. “The mule deer buck harvest was typical for the third weekend of the general season and several quality bucks for the area were checked.”

The whitetail deer harvest was above average at this point in the hunting season. Overall catch rates were average, with 60% of hunters bringing something home. In general, hunters reported seeing fewer deer than last year, but most had a chance of bagging a deer and were satisfied with their hunting opportunity.

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Ashland

Hunter traffic at Ashland Control Station was slightly less busy than usual for the closing weekend of the pronghorn season, totaling 62 parties (average 78) or 149 hunters (average 165). The Hunter success rate was 31%, which is close to the five-year average for that weekend of the season.

The harvest included 28 mule deer (24 bucks, four roe deer), 10 white-tailed deer (six bucks, four roe deer), five elk (three cows, two spiked bulls), and five female pronghorn.

“Overall, hunters’ perceptions of deer numbers were mixed,” said wildlife biologist Ryan DeVore. “Some groups saw quite a lot of deer, others observed moderate numbers and several groups saw very few compared to normal.”

According to DeVore, “Mule deer numbers have declined in the southern portion of Region 7 due to the severe, extended drought in 2020 and 2021. In addition, white-tailed deer populations have been affected by hemorrhagic diseases (EHD and/or bluetongue virus). which hit in some places in 2021 and 2022.”

Mosby

The Mosby check station operated for the Pronghorn closer for the second time.

“It was cold and snowy, with lows of minus 20 over the weekend, which probably kept many hunters at home,” said wildlife biologist Emily Mitchell. “We saw 79 hunters, of which 31 were successful – slightly fewer than last year.”

This corresponds to a harvest success rate of 39%.

Four antelope (three bucks, one roe deer), one doe elk, 23 mule deer (19 bucks, four roe deer) and seven white-tailed deer (four bucks, three roe deer) were examined.

“Many hunters have reported seeing fewer deer,” Mitchell said, “but most hunters also said that with a little extra work they got the job done and were happy with the animal they took home.” “

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