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FWP Releases Region 6 Check Station Results

The results are in from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Havre check station for the 2022 hunting season. The check station was open for eight weekends from Oct. 8 (the open of general antelope) through Nov. 27 (the end of the deer/elk general season). Overall, hunter numbers and mule deer harvest were still above average.

Biologists gather a lot of valuable information and biological data on game animals brought through check stations. FWP appreciates all hunters’ cooperation in this effort. Note that the harvest data described below includes only animals that were brought through the Havre check station and is only a partial representation of the region-wide harvest.

Hunter numbers (1,971) were down 6percent from 2021, but still 13percent above the long-term average.

“Hunter numbers have been highly variable this year,” noted Havre-area biologist Scott Hemmer, who manages the station. “Weekend weather and hunting conditions were relatively poor during several weekends of the general hunting season with a mix of muddy, cold, and windy weather limiting access and participation.”

“High numbers early on and toward the end of the general deer and elk season, in the end, resulted in above average hunter numbers for the year,” added Hemmer.

Mule deer harvest totaled 609 for the year, which was down 28 percent from last year but still 13 percent above the long-term average.

“Overall, hunter reports of mule deer numbers were mixed,” added Hemmer. “Some hunters reported average to slightly above average numbers, while others reported seeing fewer deer than in recent years.”

For the year, 137 whitetailed deer were brought by the station, which was 1percent lower than 2021, and 11percent below the longterm average.

“White-tailed deer hunter reports were generally favorable except in areas where epizootic hemorrhagic disease was more severe last year,” said Hemmer.

Antelope harvest, whose general season ended on Nov. 13, saw slightly lower numbers than 2021 and 25 percent below the long-term average. 187 antelope were brought by the check station this year.

“Antelope populations and license quotas in many districts have both been on an upward trend but are still below the long-term average in some hunting districts due in part to several severe winters in the last 10-12 years,” said Hemmer.

For the year, 38 elk were recorded, which is 3 percent below last year and the longterm average. For the eight weeks that the check station was open, the pheasant harvest of 530 birds is above last year (11percent), but still well below the long-term average (-30 percent). Sharp-tailed grouse (145 birds) harvest was below last year’s total, but still above the long-term average. Gray (Hungarian) partridge harvest (83) was the same as last year and above of the long-term average.

“Upland bird hunter reports this year have been mixed, with better reports on the eastern end of the region and well below average on the west end,” noted Hemmer. “The drought conditions have led to patchy habitat conditions and bird distribution, and our adult-to-juvenile ratio, particularly with sharp-tails and gray partridge, suggested conditions may have impacted nest success and brood survival.”

Although wetland conditions this year were generally poor and early cold weather led to ice covering most open water, duck harvest (83) was down only slightly from last year and was well above the long-term average “Overall, it appeared to be a successful season for hunters this year,” said Hemmer. “We sure appreciate and enjoy visiting with the hunters that come by the check station, and it’s great to hear stories about a successful hunt.”

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