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.
Vinny Norton knows what it means to take full advantage of the outdoor opportunities offered by Madison County.
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.
Hunting season in Montana, and particularly in Southwest Montana, is unlike anything else. With one of the longest hunting seasons in the west, healthy wildlife populations and access to millions of acres of public land, it is not just wildlife migrating west.
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.”
A busy hunting season drew to a close on Nov. 29 and now the real work begins. Mike and I process our own meat, which I think is really cool, but quite the undertaking.
“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.
Woodrow and I are out of shape. Like, badly out of shape. If you don’t remember, Woodrow is my horse (well, Mike’s horse, but I claim him). A few weekends ago, Mike took me into the mountains for my first elk hunt.