Montana Deer News

 Wolves a healthy factor, humans not July 21, 2014 Montana, The Missoulian
... In 2010, per Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Outdoors Magazine (March-April 2011), Montana “sportsmen” killed 51,000 whitetail deer, 44,000 mule deer, 25,000 elk and 19,000 pronghorn, not counting approximately 1,300 black bear and thousands of birds in sporting fun... Elk and deer do not need to be saved from wolves ...

Can FWP do anything right? July 19, 2014 Montana, Daily Inter Lake
... Following the winter of 96-97, the experts dropped just about all the “B” tags for whitetail does ... they realized they were not pulling in the revenue they needed for all their pet projects, so they started increasing the “B” tags for does... Pretty good revenue enhancer.  Unfortunately, even the specialists at FWP realized the whitetail deer population was nose-diving... 

Reward offered in Roundup poaching case July 18, 2014 Montana, KTVQ 
...  someone killed two mule deer on private property off of Fattig Creek Road south of Roundup ... FWP's 24-hour wildlife tip line at 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668)... reward of up to $1,000 ...

... on the night of Sunday, June 29, a whitetail deer was shot on Smith Lake Road near Kila.  The suspect vehicle is a white 1980's model small pickup truck similar to a Chevy S10...  call 1.800.TIP.MONT...

Butte, Anaconda men convicted in poaching cases July 3, 2014 Montana, Great Falls Tribune 
...  three illegally taken bull elk, one white-tailed deer and a bighorn sheep at an Anaconda residence... Bowen lost his hunting and fishing privileges for 10 years, may not accompany anyone in the act of hunting, fishing or trapping during his 18 month suspended jail sentence, and must pay $1,500 in fines and $8,500 in restitution...

Montana surplus big-game tags on sale June 26, 2014 The Spokesman-Review 
... Nonresident surplus hunting licenses available include:  Montana’s big game combination license for $971, Elk combination license for $821, Deer combo for $575...

2014 Deer, Elk, and Antelope Quotas Outside Biennial Quota Ranges June 18, 2014 Montana, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
     Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is requesting public review and comment on proposed 2014 deer, elk, and antelope quotas outside biennial quota ranges and 2014-2015 bison hunter requirements and roster use: 
     2014 Deer, Elk, and Antelope Quotas Outside Biennial Quota Ranges – Proposed 
The deadline for public comment on this item is 5 p.m., Monday, July 7. 
     2014-2015 Bison Hunter Requirements and Roster Use – Proposed 
The deadline for public comment on this item is 5 p.m., Monday, July 7

FWP seeks big game hunting licenses auction proposals June 14, 2014 Montana, Laurel Outlook 
... Montana Fish & Wildlife Parks (FWP) is seeking proposals from groups or individuals interested in auctioning a 2015 bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goat, deer or elk hunting license to raise conservation funds... 

Commission approves mountain lion quotas June 13, 2014 Montana,  Independent Record 
... the decision irked some hunters concerned that the quotas do not do enough to protect elk and deer from the big cats in the Bitterroot Valley...  a contentious April commission meeting in which houndsmen testified in force that lion populations had fallen and that proposals called for harvesting too many females ... 

...  we analyzed a data set of >490,000 deer and elk license records from 2002 to 2011 from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Automated Licensing System...  Because Baby Boomers constitute such a large proportion of the hunting population, decreases in recruitment and retention in this cohort drove declines in the Montana hunter population... The hunter population was stable until 2006, but has been declining since that time with nearly a 50% decline in hunter recruitment from 2002 to 2011...

... between Hamilton and Pinesdale on Bowman Road. One white-tailed deer was killed with an arrow and abandoned sometime during the evening of Friday, May 23...  call 1-800-847-6668. 

Family 'pet' deer put down by state May 27, 2014 Montana, Belgrade News
... Davis spotted the fawn, alone, near her home west of Belgrade. Davis said the fawn’s mother and sibling were killed by a dog... she couldn’t watch the small creature starve to death. ... Knowing that if she turned the animal over to the FWP that it would be euthanized, Davis decided to save the fawn. Two months ago, her pet deer was taken by local Fish, Wildlife and Parks authorities and euthanized. ... In other states, there are rescue centers for orphan animals like Sassy. Davis hopes to start something like that in Montana...

Missoula, Urban deer: Cute but a growing nuisance in Missoula May 17, 2014 The Missoulian
... “Urban deer was the most important issue and the top concern,” said Andrew Cheezem in a recent report to the Missoula City Council.... Wilkins said he doesn’t foresee putting any new programs into place soon... Some people who complain about deer getting into their gardens don’t even put up fences, and he said they can buy deer repellent at many nurseries as well...

Many Wildlife Management Areas Open for Shed Hunting This Week May 12, 2014 Montana, montanaoutdoor.com
... Opening day to many of Montana’s Wildlife Management Areas will take place this Thursday, and shed hunters will be lined up ready to scour for some antlers.  Opening day is a popular, some might even say raucous, event...

Disappointed in FWP 5-year plan for game May 2, 2014 Montana, The Western News
... Following the winter of ‘96-’97, the experts dropped just about all the “B” tags for whitetail does. They argued that the winter hammered the deer, which it did.
But not soon after, they realized they were not pulling in the revenue they needed for all their pet projects, so they started increasing the “B” tags for does...  even the specialists at FWP realized the whitetail deer population was nose-diving. They cut the seasons back ...

... a. Exclosures were baited and monitored for two winters to determine how well they deterred ungulate crossings. Results indicate effective modifications can be made to existing fences for $500 - $1,350 per mile for materials. Different designs proved to 
have varying levels of effectiveness, with six-foot woven wire being 100 percent effective. These fences are a cost-effective way to fence out wildlife in many high-value areas where traditional game fences are not practical. If farmers and ranchers can keep big game animals out of important foraging areas, resulting in reduced depredation losses, their tolerance for these animals may increase on the rest of their property.

Moose Status and Management in Montana  NJ DeCesare, TD Smucker, RA Garrott, JA Gude - ALCES, 2014 [PDF]
... Moose (Alces alces) are currently widespread across Montana where regulated moose hunting has occurred since 1872 ...  data suggest a declining trend in the statewide population,despite some ambiguity of certain data. Potential limiting factors include harvest, predation, vegetativesuccession and degradation, parasites, and climatic conditions, which were all identified as concerns in surveys of state biologists...

Hunters refute FWP mountain lion study April 14, 2014 Montana, MTPR
... Opponents of the study accuse the state of using a faulty method to come to the higher population. They say the lion numbers are much lower, and hunting quotas should be lowered. The most vocal supporters of bringing down these quotas are the lion hunters themselves...

Helena, Police Remove Just 51 Deer from City Limits April 11, 2014 Montana, Beartooth NBC
...  police stopped at 51 deer because the city is beginning to reach its goal of reducing the deer population to address safety concerns...

Mule Deer Workshop April 11, 2014 Montana, Riverton Radio
...  a workshop to discuss their future management at the Lander Regional Office on April 24th at 6 p.m...

Two C-Falls deer poachers have been sentenced April 9, 2014 Montana, Northwest Montana News Source
... The misdemeanor charges included waste of game, using artificial light to hunt big game, unlawful possession of big game animals, and hunting during a closed season...

Elk numbers climb in Montana's Region 6 April 6, 2014 Billings Gazette
...  in northeastern and north-central Montana ... More than 830 elk were counted ... One of the reasons for the rising elk population is that hunting on private land in the island mountain range is restricted... The bull-cow ratio in the Bears Paw Mountains was 63 bulls to 100 cows, which is 11 percent below the long-term average...

Elk plan in cross hairs  April 6, 2014 Montana, Great Falls Tribune 
... The plan calls for allowing the FWP to issue kill permits on ranches in the Paradise Valley until May 15 ... to prevent the spread of brucellosis through the commingling of elk and cattle... Opponents of the plan say it sets a bad precedent that would harm native wildlife populations and interrupt migration corridors for elk, deer, antelope and other large mammals. Critics also say the plan allows for lethal removal of cow elk too late in the reproductive cycle...

...  remember that deer are usually most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and they almost always travel in herds...



...  Create a base hunting license that would be a prerequisite to purchasing individual species tags and would replace the current archery stamp. The price of $10 for residents and $15 for nonresidents ... Moose populations across Montana have been declining for years ...  Antelope have yet to rebound from a devastating die-off in 2010-11 during record snowfall that killed thousands, while disease also picked off hundreds. The only big game that seems to be thriving is elk ...

Search for news and information by keyword above or find links to state news stories organized by topic.

Montana data:  For 2014 FWP reports that in the northwest white-tailed deer are still recovering from the population low of 2009 and mule deer numbers are still low.  In the west white-tails and mule deer are below average.  In the southwest white-tails are stable and mule deer are stable to declining.  Elk populations are stable in the northwest, above average in the west, and slightly increasing in the southwest.
     A significant decline in the 2013 deer hunt, FWP has implemented restrictions to restore the herd including reduced hunting pressure, hunting of only mature male mule deer and only white-tailed bucks in three eastern regions.. There are an estimated 225,000 White Tail Deer and 203,000 Mule Deer statewide. 
    Mule deer populations fell by about 55% from the 2006-2008 recent peak to 2012 as a result of severe winters from 2009 to 2011.   Mule deer populations have  been in a long decline, since the 1970's.  The winter of 96 - 97 took a heavy toll, doe licenses were substantially reduced in an effort to boost the population.  One issue has been suppression of fire beginning in the 70;s that improved deer habitat., but reasons for the decline are not well understood and under study.   Antelope populations have followed a similar pattern.  White tail populations suffered from  a severe epidemic of episodic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in 2012.  Deer and elk populations have been doing better on private land than on public land where they are over hunted.
     Moose populations have been on the decline and FWP is trying to determine why.  Elk are thriving, about 140,000.  Antelope have not recovered from the severe winter of 2010-11 and disease, currently at about 90,000.  About 650 wolves in 2012, 550 wolves in 2011.

Report poaching:  1.800.TIP.MONT  Reward of up to $1,000.  Callers can remain anonymous.  1-800-847-6668. 

Other useful links:
- Montana Department of Environmental Quality
- Deer Management Objectives

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What is the basis for Adaptive Harvest Management in Montana?
Research on mule deer populations and habitats began in the mid-1970s with an unexpected decline in mule deer populations in the western states. Researchers initiated mule deer population studies in the Bridger Mountains of southwest Montana, in the Missouri River Breaks of north-central Montana and in the prairie-badlands along Cherry Creek in the southeastern part of the state to learn what factors influence the number of mule deer from year-to-year. Today with more than 25 years of research on mule deer, this work is one of the most comprehensive studies of a big game species ever compiled in North America.
     Another mule deer population decline in the mid-1990s focused attention on the task of integrating the knowledge gained in the past 25 years into a systematic deer management strategy that can be applied consistently across the state. This is the work underway today.