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Northeast Montana Havre Check Station Results For Season Released

The results are in from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Havre check station for the 2023 hunting season. The check station was open for eight weekends from Oct. 7 (the opener of general antelope and pheasant) through Nov. 26 (the end of the deer/ elk general season).

Overall, hunter numbers and upland game bird harvest were above average, and big game harvest was below 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 (2,017) were up 2 percent from 2022, and 15 percent above the long-term average.

“Hunter numbers were up this year, and warm and dry weather during most of the hunting season likely contributed to the high participation,” noted Havre-area biologist Scott Hemmer, who manages the station.

Mule deer checked totaled 533 for the year, which was down 12 percent from last year and 2 percent below the long-term average.

For the year, 149 whitetailed deer were brought by the station, which was 9 percent higher than 2022, and just 2 percent below the long-term average.

“Deer hunter reports varied across the region, however most hunters reported seeing fewer mule and white-tailed deer this fall,” adds Hemmer. “Deer hunter success (number of deer/ hunter) was 19 percent below the long-term average.”

The number of antelope checked, whose general season ended on Nov. 12, saw slightly lower numbers than 2022, and 29 percent below the long-term average. 177 antelope were brought by the check station this year.

“Antelope license quotas in some districts were reduced, due in part to lower populations resulting from recent extended drought and winter weather conditions,” said Hemmer. “Antelope hunter reports reflected harvest success, as most hunters indicated fewer antelope seen this year.

For the year, 25 elk were recorded, which is 34 percent below last year and 36 percent below the long-term average.

Upland bird numbers saw a substantial increase in harvest this year. For the eight weeks that the check station was open, the pheasant harvest of 725 birds is above last year (37 percent), and just below the longterm average. Sharp-tailed grouse (163 birds) harvest was just above last year’s total, and 30 percent above the long-term average. Gray (Hungarian) partridge harvest (122) was well above both last year and the longterm average.

“Upland bird hunter reports this year have been mostly positive,” noted Hemmer. “A lot of juvenile birds came by the check station, which is a good indicator of population growth. Favorable weather during hatching and brood-rearing months, combined with improved habitat conditions thanks to timely precipitation, seemed to rebound bird numbers across the region.”

Duck harvest (89) was up slightly from last year and was well above the long-term average.

“Overall, it appeared a lot of hunters were able to make it out into the field this fall,” 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. Thanks for stopping by!”

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