General hunting season except for the last 10 days

The “rut” is ramping up in Northwest Montana as the general hunting season comes to a close in less than two weeks.

Montana’s deer and elk hunting season lasts through November 27th.

So far this season, more than 6,100 hunters have turned up at regional game control stations with mixed results.

The total number of elk hunters has increased compared to last year, while the number of deer hunters has decreased. The table below summarizes the results for the first four weekends of the season at four test stations in northwest Montana.

Control stations are open on weekends during the general deer and elk hunting season from 10:00 am until approximately 1.5 hours after sunset. Regional stations are located on US Highway 2 west of Kalispell, Montana Highway 83 north of Swan Lake, Highway 200 west of Thompson Falls, and Highway 93 near Olney.

Reminders for Region 1

Moose hunting is only in Region 1 (Northwest Montana) with the exception of Hunting District 170, unless a hunter has an antlerless moose permit or a hunt from a vehicle (PTHFV) permit. An eyebrowed bull is defined as “any elk having an antler or antlers with a visible point on the lower half of each main bar greater than or equal to four inches in length.”

Juveniles aged 10 to 15 and hunters with a Permit to Hunt from a Vehicle (PTHFV) can still harvest white-tailed deer of either sex for the remainder of the season in most parts of the region (see regulations for details). A “unisex” stag is defined as “a male or female of any age”.

Hunters who have obtained the 199-20 restricted whitetail deer B license for both sexes can only use that license within the Libby CWD Management Zone.

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

Chronic wasting disease

Testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is voluntary statewide. FWP can assist hunters with sample collection and submission, or hunters can submit samples themselves.

A Libby CWD sampling station operates Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10:00 am to 1.5 hours after sunset at the Montana Department of Transportation store on US Highway 2 south of town. Hunters do not have to stop at the Libby CWD Sampling Station.

Hunters wanting a sample of their animal should leave 2 to 4 inches of the neck below the lower jawbone and base of the skull to ensure lymph nodes are present and are not accidentally left with the carcass. Frozen heads cannot be sampled.

To prevent the spread of CWD, all carcasses, including the head and spine, must be disposed of in a Class II landfill after slaughter and processing. Dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical, and can spread diseases, including chronic wasting diseases. This requirement applies to all deer, elk and elk carcasses killed by hunters or as salvage from vehicles.

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