With record breaking numbers at the Cameron check station during opening weekend, only 460 hunters passed through the final weekend, and only 57 had game, resulting in a 12 percent success rate for deer and elk.
Ennis’ annual Hunters’ Feed was Friday, Oct. 20. The event brought welcomed people from all over Madison County and the country to brave the rain and snow to try different wild game delicacies.
In 2012, the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University and the Craighead Institute started a project to look at the effects of U.S. Highway 287 and MT Highway 87 in the Madison Valley on road related wildlife mortality and movement patterns, said Lance Craighead of the Craighead Institute.
Wildlife biologists for the Madison and Ruby valleys completed their spring mule deer surveys, both reporting an increase in populations
An estimated $324 million in 2016 alone circulates through Montana as a result of big game hunting, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. That figure includes resident and non-resident spending and combines elk, deer and antelope hunters, according to a FWP economic impact study.
Nov. 26 and 27, the final weekend of the general deer and elk hunting season in Southwest Montana, saw little change in hunter harvest success, according to FWP’s Andrea Jones.
“At the end of last (hunting) season we had 8,700 elk in that country,” Waltee said. “Coming out of winter, we had about 2,400 calves on the ground, so we probably started this season with 11,100 elk, or somewhere around there.”
“This is the week that really tests everybody,” said Ruby Valley resident Dan Crismore last Wednesday. “We call it desperation week – the hunters that haven’t gotten anything are nervous.”
‘Desperation week’ is the final week of hunting season, when it seems like issues with hunter ethics become more common.
With two weekends of Montana’s general big game season come and gone, both the Cameron and Alder check stations showed moderate hunter success rates.