Officials: Hunting numbers up over last year

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More hunters in the northwest section of the state are taking home game than last year so far this season, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials announced last week.

Four weekends into the general hunting season, FWP officials have counted nearly 9,200 hunters checking in at five big game stations in Region 1. Collectively, they have brought in 620 white-tailed deer, including 479 bucks, 81 mule deer and 46 elk.

Those numbers mean that hunters are doing slightly better than their peers a year ago, officials said. The percentage of hunters reporting harvested game is 8.1 percent over 6 percent at this time last year.

Officials cautioned that counts at stations represent a sampling of the harvest and not the total number of animals bagged.

Big game season ends Dec. 1. Officials sought to remind hunters that they must stop at all check stations that they pass even if they do not have a harvested animal.

If an animal is taken within the Libby Chronic Waste Disease Management zone, it must be reported and sampled within three days. The sampling station is located at the Montana State Transportation shop at mile marker 35 of U.S. Highway 2. It is open every day from 11 a.m. until an hour-and-a-half after sunset.

Only those hunters who have harvested an animal in the management zone are required to stop.

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