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West-central Montana’s big game hunting season is over

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Missoula, Montana – Montana’s general big game hunting season for 2022 ended on Sunday, November 27, about five weeks after it began. The number of animals taken was up a little from last year, and most of west-central Montana was cold and snowy.

During the six weekends of the season, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) ran wildlife check stations in four places around west-central Montana. There, biologists recorded 9,726 hunter stops and the harvest of 301 elk, 110 mule deer, and 567 white-tailed deer.

At the end of the 2021 season, there will have been 10,216 hunter stops, 192 elk, 109 mule deer, and 513 white-tailed deer.

FWP says that elk hunters did well because overall hunting conditions were cold and snowy, which was also a factor in the slightly higher-than-average number of elk killed.

All four hunter check stations in west-central Montana saw more elk in 2022 than in 2021. This year, more elk were checked at the Darby station than at any time since 2015.

FWP staffers. Note that there were some differences in how people harvested in different parts of the region.

At all hunter check stations, the number of elk killed went up, but the number of mule deer killed went up at the Bonner station, down at Fish Creek, about the same as average at Anaconda, and slightly down from last season at Darby.

At Darby and Bonner, more white-tailed deer were taken than at Anaconda, and at Fish Creek, the number of deer taken was about the same as average.

The general rifle season ended on November 27, but there are still some hunting opportunities in the winter, like the muzzleloader season (December 10–18, 2022). Visit fwp.mt.gov/hunt to learn more.

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