ANDREW MCKEAN Region 6 information officer Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Hunters will be afield starting this week to participate in special management seasons in the Bear Paw Mountains for elk and on private land north of Chinook for mule deer. Both seasons are designed to decrease populations of animals that are well over the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ objectives and have the potential to cause significant damage to agricultural property. Participants for the management seasons were selected by a roster that was compiled in June and July for the elk hunt and in December for the mule deer opportunity. There will be no additional hunters selected for either management season. The elk management season is underway in hunting districts 680 and 690 in southern Hill and Blaine counties and northeastern Chouteau County; the mule deer management season is underway in a portion of Hunting District 600 in northern Blaine County. Hunters in both seasons have been contacted by FWP and given details of the opportunity. Hunting is on designated private land that was open for free, public hunting during last fall’s general season, and hunters are required to report their harvest success to FWP. “Elk numbers in districts 690 and 680 are almost twice as high as the herd objective,” said FWP wildlife biologist Al Rosgaard of Havre. “They cause perennial game damage to standing crops of oats and barley. Our harvest goal during the established hunting season was 100 animals, but in 2006 only 74 elk, including 47 antlerless elk and 27 bulls, were harvested. The goal of the elk management season will be to harvest an additional 25 antlerless elk.” Rosgaard said that mule deer populations in District 600 are similarly above objective and that the goal of the management season is to harvest an additional 150 to 200 antlerless mule deer. Both hunts will be open through Feb. 15 or until harvest objectives have been met. Call FWP’s Havre Area Office at 265-6177 with questions about the management seasons. Anyone interested in being put on a roster for future management seasons can visit FWP’s Web site at www.fwp.mt.gov later this year for details.