Montana Deer News

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 ...

Give deer, elk a break in springtime March 10, 2014 Montana, Billings Gazette
... spring and winter play a tug of war, and depending on how it goes, deer and elk could be the losers... That bull elk may run away today, but die from exhaustion next week... Let them alone...

Deadline is Saturday for elk, deer permits March 10, 2014 Montana, Billings Gazette
... All deer and elk regulations became final Feb. 13. For additional clarification on these and other details, the 2014 deer and elk regulations are now online at fwp.mt.gov. Hard copies of the hunting regulations will be on the shelf at FWP offices and local license providers in April...

Mule Deer Foundation banquet is Saturday March 3, 2014 Montana, Billings Gazette
... The Big Sky Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation will hold its eighth annual Banquet and Auction at the Elks Lodge in Billings on Saturday....

     Forty mule deer in Regions 6 and 7 were recently captured and fitted with GPS (global positioning system) collars as part of a larger study looking at the effects of energy development on mule deer.  Last year, in light of the increasing energy development overlapping with primary mule deer range in North Dakota, the North Dakota Game and Fish initiated a 5-year research project (3-year field season) to investigate the effects of energy development on mule deer space use, survival and demographics....The study is expected to provide valuable pre-development demographic data (reproduction, survival, abundance, and distribution), resource selection data, and any avoidance information they detect from collared deer...

Panel votes to tighten deer hunting rules February 13, 2014 Montana, Great Falls Tribune
... The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Thursday to convert the general mule deer season statewide to antlered-only and to eliminate nearly all white-tailed deer B licenses in Regions 4, 5 and 6... FWP proposed the changes to Montana’s deer hunting regulations because of declining deer populations across the state and across the West...

It's so cold, even some wildlife maybe seeking refuge February 8, 2014 Montana, kaj18.com 
... wildlife officials say even some animals are seeking refuge, and may end up in your surroundings.  That's why lately deer gobbling down plants and vegetation seem to be a familiar sight this week on the University of Montana campus. ... "The weather would affect them, and coax animals to use the city more if they're looking for cover," ...

Hunting reg decisions top wildlife commission meeting February 7, 2014 Montana, Billings Gazette
... Montana’s Fish & Wildlife Commission will meet in Helena on Thursday to consider final approval of most hunting regulations, seasons and harvest quotas for the next two years... For the full agenda and additional information, visit FWP’s website

Mule deer group moves banquet January 31, 2014 January 31, 2014 Montana, Montana Standard 
... The Mule Deer Foundation will have its annual banquet Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Stage store space of the Butte Plaza Mall. Doors open at 4 p.m., games start at 5 p.m. with the dinner at 6 p.m. ... 

Sportsmen & Women Spent $983 Million Hunting & Fishing In Montana In 2011 January 27, 2013 Montana, AmmoLand.com (press release) 
... For 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been the nation’s primary non-taxpayer-based tool to conserve parks, wildlife refuges, forests, rivers, trails, and other important federal, state and local public lands. The program is funded through revenues from offshore oil and gas development. Montana has received $374 million in LWCF funding over the past four decades.... 

Deer, Elk populations: Develop fair private land system January 26, 2014 Montana, Missoulian 
... Across Montana, deer and elk populations are flourishing on private land, while public land populations are declining. Private land game populations are flourishing ,,, Major changes to hunting regulations are proposed for the 2014 season – regulations that, by and large, would greatly decrease public land hunting opportunities while increasing private land opportunities...

FWP considering hunting changes January 21, 2014 Montana, Great Falls Tribune 
... “Deer numbers are definitely down across the state and the west,” said Cory Loecker, FWP biologist in Great Falls ... The proposals for the 2014 and 2015 seasons would allow hunters to only take antlered mule deer with their A license.  They could still take either sex of whitetail...

FWP Takes Public Comment on Hunting Regulations January 17, 2014 Montana, Beartooth NBC 
...  During a public meeting Wednesday, FWP officials discussed the possible elimination of almost all mule deer doe tags across the state....

FWP announces hunting regulation changes for 2014 January 15, 2014 Montana, Clark Fork Valley Press
... Edwards explained in a number of districts, the elk and deer population numbers had dropped. She said in these cases, FWP would need to eliminate some of the B-licenses to allow the herds to recover. Another problem was how elk have sought shelter from hunters on private lands and caused damage to the owner’s property...  in the middle Clark Fork here, we’re trying to bring populations up ...

... State wildlife officials hope the proposed regulations will help expand elk and deer populations on public lands while addressing concerns of abundant whitetail deer on private agricultural lands... “We’re not trying to grow trophy bulls here,” Thompson said. “We’re trying to interrupt the declining trends that we’re seeing in the districts.” ...

A mild winter may be good for elk and deer herds January 8, 2014 Montana, Clark Fork Valley Press
... According to James Jonkel, wildlife management specialist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, this winter has been wonderful for the elk and deer populations.  “[There’s been] good survival of the fawns and calves,” ... 

Applications sought for wildlife project funding January 6, 2014 Montana, The Ranger
...  The Wyoming Governor's Big Game License Coalition is accepting applications for projects to be funded by the auction/raffle of Gov. Matt Mead's 2014 complimentary big game hunting licenses.... The coalition's online application form and a list of past projects can be found at http://wyomingwildlifefoundation.org.  Interested individuals and organizations must apply by Feb. 1.

... Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologists are busy completing post hunting season deer surveys across the region... preliminary indicators point towards a good to excellent fawn crop this past summer for both mule deer and white tailed deer. “Production” is the number of fawns observed per doe and any ratio over 40 fawns per 100 does is indicative of increasing populations. Mule deer survey ratios so far range from 56 - 100 fawns per 100 does. The while tailed ratios are mirroring those of the mule deer. This is good news for deer populations that have been beset in recent years by tough environmental conditions. In particular, mule deer populations across eastern Montana took a solid hit during the winters of 2009-10 and again in 2010-11.
      Mule deer populations suffered high mortality and by 2012 populations had declined 55% from population peaks noted in 2006-2008. In response to these population declines, FWP reduced mule deer doe licenses by 90% from roughly 11,500 issued in 2009 to 1,200 issued in 2012 and 2013. [see graphy below]


Meetings to address state’s declining deer population January 5, 2014 Montana, Helenair.com
... At the meetings, FWP will present proposals they anticipate will help recover Montana’s declining deer populations by reducing hunting pressure on antlerless mule deer and white-tailed deer. In what some called a “bold” move, last month the commission gave initial approval to convert all but a few mule deer tags to antlered only ...

Proposed FWP regulations would restrict doe hunting January 3, 2014 Montana,  KTVQ.com 
... FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim said ... Deer populations suffered during the "killer" winter of 2010-11... Deer also suffered a severe epidemic in recent months from episodic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) ... There are also cyclical factors not fully understood that have reduced the mule deer population in a wide region, not just in Montana ...

FWP proposes changes to hunting regulations January 3, 2014 Montana,  bitterrootstar.com 
...  a sharp decline in buck harvest ...  The population in HD 204 appears to be the most suppressed and management is complicated by the fact that it has a boundary line running along the bottom of Rock Creek, which is heavily hunted. They also note that white-tailed deer populations are generally down on publicly accessible lands in many parts of the Bitterroot watershed...

... Celebrating our 25th year in 2013, MDF chapters in Montana had a record-breaking year in fundraising... The Mule Deer Foundation is a nonprofit wildlife habitat conservation organization dedicated to ensuring the future of mule deer, blacktail deer and their habitats. With 44,000 members and more than 140 chapters nationwide ...

Hunting Regulations For Next Two Years Up For Review December 27, 2013 Montana, MFWP
     Montanans will have extensive opportunities to review and comment on 2014-2015 hunting regulation proposals by going on online now or by attending one of 43 public meetings in January.  Last summer, FWP held seven meetings across the state and received nearly 1,200 comments that led to several new hunting season proposals.
     At the meetings in January, FWP will present a number of proposals, including those to aid the recovery of Montana's declining deer populations by reducing hunting pressure on antlerless mule deer and white-tailed deer.
     Details on the proposed hunting regulations are available on FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "2014-2015 Hunting Proposals," where one can find a complete calendar of meeting times and locations, and additional information on each proposal. The proposals encompass hunting season dates and nearly every huntable species in Montana.
     Comments may be submitted at the local meetings, which are set for Jan 4-23, 2014 statewide, or online at fwp.mt.gov. Written comments may be sent to: FWP—Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. For questions not covered on the website, call 406-444-2612.  Comments are due by 5 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2014. 

Sportsmen should fight climate change December 25, 2013 Montana, Great Falls Tribune
... Here in Montana, we are already seeing the impact...  White-tail deer populations are suffering because higher temperatures are causing an increase in the midges that pass on epizootic hemorrhagic disease. Less snowpack and earlier runoff trends are reducing stream flows ...

Dillon couple pleads not guilty to felony poaching of deer, fish December 20, 2013 Montana, Montana Standard
... The Fosters possessed 23 illegally harvested deer and elk since 2007, wildlife officials said, and are charged with other misdemeanors for deer poached before 2007...

... Public meetings on Montana’s proposed hunting seasons and regulations for 2014-2015 are planned for twelve west-central Montana communities in January. Details on the proposed hunting regulations are available now on FWP's website at .http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/publicComments/2014_15HuntingSeasonSetting.html

Hunting regulations hope to help deer population December 16, 2013 Montana, nbcmontana.com 
... In western Montana, regions like Kalispell and Missoula saw some of the deer population die, but in eastern Montana regions like Billings, Great Falls and Glasgow, deer that died due to disease was even larger.  FWP says they won't be issuing tags for any breed of antlerless deer. Last year, 30,000 tags for antlerless deer were issued...

Montana deer die-off leads to reduced hunting plan December 14, 2013 Atlanta Journal Constitution
... Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has given initial approval to limitations on the number of mule deer and white-tailed deer hunters will be able to kill following a die-off that has reduced populations...

FWP looking at changes in mule deer management December 13, 2013 Montana, ravallirepublic.com 
... “Usually you see 150 mule deer in my field,” Commissioner Richard Stuker of Conrad said. “This year we’re leaving the gate open in my hay fields and we haven’t seen a single one.”  Mary Ellen Schnur, a representative of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, said some of their members have refunded fees to clients because there weren’t any deer to hunt.

State makes 'bold' move on mule deer December 12, 2013 Montana, Helena Independent Record
...  the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission gave initial approval Thursday to convert all but a few mule deer tags to antlered only, which would prohibit taking does in light of what appears to be a rapidly dwindling population.  In addition, the commission is proposing to eliminate almost all of the “B” licenses for mule deer statewide and for white-tailed deer in most of regions 4, 5 and 6 ...

Helena gets approval to cull 70 deer in 2014 December 12, 2013 Montana, Helena Independent Record
... Up to 70 urban deer that roam the streets of Helena can be removed by city officials in 2014, under a proposal given final approval Thursday by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission... FWP authorized the city to remove 350 urban deer in 2008. Since then, they’ve taken out 740 deer ...

Commission suspends the hunting of most female deer December 12, 2013 Montana, Bozeman Daily Chronicle 
... the FWP commission approved a proposal to allow the hunting of only mature male mule deer, or bucks, across Montana and only white-tailed bucks in three eastern Montana regions... the rule was proposed in response to a large reduction in the number of does across the state...

Montana white-tailed deer harvest up slightly December 12, 2013 Montana, Coeur d'Alene Press
... white-tailed deer harvest at the six northwest Montana check stations finished ahead of last year's totals as the season wrapped up on Dec. 1.  The six check stations recorded a total of 18,262 hunters with 1,112 white-tailed deer ... Vore noted that whitetail bucks are a reliable indicator of the population, and their harvest was significantly higher than in the last three years ...

Deer takes icy plunge to flee mountain lion December 11, 2013 Montana, The Spokesman Review (blog)
... she jumped with all of her might over the icy edge of the river strait into the swift current... right behind her – a mountain lion appeared ... she was freezing ...  eventually laid down and stayed there for the next six hours...

Careless hunting should have consequences December 10, 2013 Montana,  Great Falls Tribune
... The occasion for this piece is the shooting of Layne Spence’s dog Nov. 17 near Lolo... If there is something we can all agree on, surely it’s that it is incumbent upon the owner of a particular hunting license to be able to clearly identify the target animal ... The reality that the shooting of Spence’s dog did not break any laws and did not violate any regulations does not mean it is now a non-issue...

Region 7 deer harvest down, elk numbers up December 6, 2013 Montana, Billings Gazette
... southeast Montana ... Mule deer populations are 32 percent lower and white-tailed deer are 7 percent lower, according to 2013 spring surveys...

No does: State considers dropping most antlerless deer hunts December 6, 2013 Montana, Billings Gazette
... We are trying to do what we can to help the population recover.”  Marshall Johnson, the Montana and North Dakota regional director for the Mule Deer Foundation, said ... "... their numbers, which he said have been falling since the 1970s.  In the mule deer heydays, they were poisoning predators and they had adequate habitat ...Then we started suppressing fires in the ‘70s - fire used to improve forbs and grasses and the old growth doesn’t have as much nutritional value.”

... The commission's regular meeting will take place Thursday, Dec. 12, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Montana Wild, 2668 Broadwater Ave., next to Spring Meadow Lake State Park off Highway 12 West.  A work session, where no official action is taken, is set for Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks headquarters, 1420 E. 6th Ave. The work session will focus on upcoming hunting season setting recommendations, processes and public meetings... Proposals to consider for public comment include the 2015-16 quota range for the Helena urban deer management plan ... deer, elk and antelope seasons, quota ranges, hunting district boundaries ...  moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat seasons, quota ranges and hunting district boundaries ...

More elk, fewer deer this season for Rocky Mountain Front hunters December 5, 2013 Montana, Independent Record 
... Brent Lonner, a wildlife biologist for Montana ... "we have some pretty strong elk numbers ... Last spring, we were counting just under 3,000 head in the Sun River herd.”  
He attributes the drop in white-tailed harvest success, which was 20 percent below the 10-year average, to an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD... 

Elk hunting picked up after slow start December 4, 2013 Montana, Great Falls Tribune
...  along the Rocky Mountain Front ... the elk harvest was about 25 percent above the 10-year average, according to data collected at FWP’s Augusta check station... The mule deer and white-tailed deer harvest both ended about 20 percent below average on the Front ...

... As of Sunday, Dec. 1, a total of 18,262 hunters checked 1,112 white-tailed deer of which 985 were bucks, 134 mule deer, and 56 elk for a 7.1 percent rate of hunters with game... higher than the 6.5 percent of hunters with game last year... about the same number of mule deer, but fewer elk as compared to last year...

... A total of 56 roadkill permits have been requested in Montana since a new law went into effect last week.  Montana's new wildlife salvage law allows people to claim deer, elk, antelope, or moose that are killed in a vehicle collision...

... a big drop in the number of elk taken... dropped about 30% to 40% ...  "We'll just chalk up this low harvest to the weather ...

Daines ignores input from hunters and anglers, wildlife habitat December 2, 2013 Montana, The Missoulian
...  the “Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act,” or H.R. 1526, replaces good elk habitat with a web of logging roads threatening the longest hunting season in the lower 48 states. The bill was born in a Washington, D.C., lobbyist’s office. It’s a top-down land grab that fails the made-in-Montana sniff test... 

... deer harvests through the Anaconda, Bonner and Darby Check Stations nearly equaling those checked in 2011 and 2012, and elk harvests up slightly from last year.
Numbers of elk and deer checked through the three check stations totaled 1,116 this season, 19 more than the total of 1,097 recorded in 2012.  The white-tailed deer harvest was almost identical to last year’s, with 534 whitetails checked this year compared with 536 checked last year. Mule deer harvest was down slightly from 164 in 2012 to 151 this year.  The elk harvest of 431 through the three check stations was up from the total of 397 last year, due to a bump in harvest checked at the hunter check station near Darby ...

Helena police to trap, kill 60 urban deer, starting Sunday November 30, 2013 Montana, Missoulian 
...  the city was authorized to take 200 deer this year to try to get their numbers to around 25 per square mile...  They use bolt guns in the early morning hours to kill the deer in what’s a relatively unobtrusive manner.  McGee notes that the black traps, which are baited with a bowl of fruit and oats, are only put in places where landowners are reporting problems with deer...

Nearly a dozen road kill permits issued in Montana November 29, 2013 Montana, Fox News
... State wildlife officials said they weren't sure how much interest there would be in salvaging road-killed animals for food, but with 11 permits issued in the first two days they were available, clearly the interest is there...

3 Hamilton men lose hunting privileges for killing 25 deer November 28, 2013 Montana, Billings Gazette
Three Hamilton men have forfeited their hunting privileges after being found guilty of killing deer for the thrill of it last year... “One defendant said they shot between 20 and 25 deer with a .22...

... More Montana hunters brought more game through check stations last weekend, pushing the 2013 statistics slightly above the mark for the past two seasons in Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 2... Mule deer takes remained low throughout the region ...

Elk hunting picks up on the Front November 27, 2013 Montana, Great Falls Tribune 
...  on the Rocky Mountain Front.  Elk hunters so far have brought in 291 animals (96 bulls, 166 cows and 29 calves) compared to the 10-year average of 238 elk. Mule deer at the check station have numbered 238 (214 bucks, 23 does and one fawn). The 10-year average is 273 animals.  White-tailed deer numbers stand at 171 (121 bucks, 33 does and 17 fawns), while the 10-year average is 191...

Helena police continue culling urban deer November 27, 2013 Montana, krtv.com
... Once deer are trapped, they're shot on site ... Police have removed a total of 670 deer since they began culling in 2008...

Region 6 Hunting Numbers, Reported Harvests Still Down November 27, 2013 Montana, Glasgow Courier
... “Hunter numbers so far this year have only been about 2 percent lower than last year’s numbers, but they’re still down 38 percent from 2010 levels,” said Havre-area Wildlife Biologist Scott Hemmer. “Antelope and white-tailed deer are the two species that have seen the largest decreases in harvest.” ...

Montana allows legal possession of roadkill November 26, 2013 The Register-Guard
... The online permitting system to legally take possession of roadkilled big game goes operational today.  The state law allowing people to salvage deer, elk, antelope and moose ... In 2012, Montana motorists hit 4,754 whitetail deer, 1,977 mule deer, 220 elk, 72 antelope and 28 moos ...

West-Central Montana Deer, Elk Harvest Slightly Above Past Two Seasons November 25, 2013 Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
     Total hunter numbers and animals reported through west-central Montana’s three hunter check stations are slightly higher than the last two seasons at the close of the fourth week. The general season for big game hunting will close at the end of Thanksgiving weekend.  Overall, the Darby, Bonner and Anaconda check stations tallied 12,730 hunter-trips, 369 elk, 131 mule deer and 419 white-tailed deer through the fourth week of the season, up from last year in all categories except mule deer...

... The deer harvest remains below the long-term average for south-central Montana while the elk harvest remains strong, according to Region 5 game check station tallies. At the Big Timber check station, hunter numbers were the lowest ever recorded for the fifth weekend of the general deer and elk seasons...

... A total of 15,061 hunters checked 842 white-tailed deer ... through Nov. 24. Meanwhile, 116 mule deer, and 51 elk were checked ... for an overall 6.7% rate of hunters with game...

Daines bill would compromise wilderness land November 24, 2013 Montana, Billings Gazette
... a national bill currently in Congress ... . Rep. Steve Daines' H R 1526 ... is designed to prioritize logging over all other purposes — including hunting, fishing and wildlife protection habitat... 

Public Comment Invited: Chronic Wasting Disease Enivronmental Assessment November, 2013, Montana, FWP
   This will be a statewide detection and response plan with an initial emphasis on high risk areas and/or infected areas.  The surveillance portion of this plan may impact other wildlife management plans if funding must be diverted from those plans to fund testing at a statistically significant level. CWD surveillance will have no impacts on any existing cervid management plans.  The Montana Department of Livestock recently received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for implementation of the herd certification program for farmed cervids.   The comment deadline is December 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM.
... 
2013-14 Helena Urban Deer Public Comment November, 2013 Montana, FWP
Please comment on the proposed 2013-2014 take of urban deer by the City of Helena allowing for the lethal removal of up to 70 deer in addition to the 60 remaining on the authorization from last year. The take authorization would be valid through Dec. 31, 2014, with a no-take period extending from April 1 through November 14, 2014. Venison from this effort will continue to be made available to the local food bank... Comment deadline: Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5 PM.

    “Hunter numbers so far this year have only been about 2 percent lower than last year’s numbers, but they’re still down 38 percent from 2010 levels,” said Havre-area Wildlife Biologist Scott Hemmer. “Antelope and white-tailed deer are the two species that have seen the largest decreases in harvest.”  Region 6 antelope and deer numbers were heavily impacted by several recent hard winters. White-tailed deer populations in some areas have also been hit hard by repeated outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, also known as EHD.   
     Antelope license quotas have also been greatly reduced since 2010, and fewer antelope licenses were available in Region 6 in 2013 as compared to 2012. Similar cuts have been made in the Region 6 white-tailed deer doe license quota, and sales of the over-the-counter license were suspended prior to the start of this year’s big game season.
     Hemmer said the Havre-area check station results thus far this year show the Region 6 mule deer harvest being below the long-term average by about 42 percent. But it’s only about 9 percent below the harvest reported last year. The Region 6 elk harvest has been up significantly, though.

Deer and elk harvest improves in south central Montana November 20, 2013 Montana, Laurel Outlook
...The white-tailed deer harvest reported at Big Timber was equal to the same weekend last year, but mule deer and elk numbers were much less... For the entire season, the deer harvest and percent of hunters with game are below the long term average while the elk harvest is well ahead of average at Big Timber...

Information sought in mule deer poaching November 20, 2013 Montana, Billings Gazette
... a mule deer buck in Blaine County... the deer was illegally shot and killed from a county road on the Triple H Block Management Area about 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 18... call ... 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668).

... A total of 11,811 hunters checked 594 white-tailed deer (528 of these were bucks), 90 mule deer, and 45 elk - for a 6.2% percent rate of hunters with game through Nov. 16 ...

More deer taken in fourth weekend of season November 18, 2013 Montana, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
... About 1,500 hunters hit the hills of southwestern Montana last weekend, and more than 7 percent were successful ...




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Montana data:  A significant decline in the 2013 deer hunt, FWP has implemented restrictions to restore the herd. There are an estimated 225,000 White Tail Deer and 203,000 Mule Deer statewide. The state also has an estimated 140,000 Elk and 90,000 Antelope. About 650 wolves in 2012, 550 wolves in 2011.
    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.  Antelope populations have followed a similar pattern.  White tail populations have suffered from  a severe epidemic in recent months from episodic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in 2012.
     Moose populations have been on the decline and FWP is trying to determine why.  Elk are thriving.  Anatelope have not recovered from the severe winter of 2010-11 and disease. 

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

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

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What is the Adaptive Harvest Management Plan for Mule Deer?
The Adaptive Harvest Management Plan for Mule Deer guides mule deer management in Montana, linking annual mule deer habitat conditions, population surveys and harvest information to set annual hunting regulations that are in sync with the species and how it is doing in a particular location.

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.