By Robert Lucke
With almost all general hunting seasons open now in this area, hunting looks good according to Al Rosgaard, wildlife biologist at the Havre office of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
General deer season just opened this last weekend so FWP do not have numbers in yet but deer are plentiful both in the mountains and on the prairie.
Deer season opened Oct. 24, and it seems like mule deer numbers are on the increase, Rosgaard commented. There has been good antler growth in bucks throughout the area, both north and south of the Milk River.
Plenty of whitetail deer around, too.
Whitetail deer numbers are at pretty high levels, Rosgaard added. Areas where hunters can find them are all along the Milk River valley corridor and any of the drainages that feed into the Milk River.
In addition to an A tag which entitles a hunter in region six to a mule or whitetail either sex, this year resident hunters can purchase one antlerless B license for whitetail.
Elk season just opened as well in the Bear Paws and along the Missouri Breaks.
There are 50 antlerless tags we have issued and ten either sex tags in this area, Rosgaard said. That includes area 690, the Bear Paw Mountains and 680, the Missouri Breaks.
With archery season just closed most of the archery hunters were after elk in areas 680 and 690.
Most archery hunters were hunting elk in the Missouri Breaks or Bear Paws, Rosgaard continued. In the Bear Paws there were 15 permits for archery and two bulls were taken for the season.
In the Missouri Breaks, I dont know about numbers, but it is an average year there. We checked some and heard of others and we are seeing a lot of elk in those areas. Rifle hunters should have good success this fall.
Antelope season is in full swing now ending on Nov. 7. It too is a permit season with the quota already filled.
Antelope numbers over all are on the increase. Sportsmen who have the tags are having really good success, Rosgaard said. Of the first two weekends we have seen an 80 percent success rate of most all reported very good numbers of antelope and particularly good numbers of antelope bucks. We had checked the whole season last year and counted right around 200 antelope. This year during the first two weekends we have checked over 300. Hunters are definitely doing better.
Upland game bird numbers are great, too.
With two weekends under our belt with pheasants, it seems like a real good hatch this year on pheasants throughout the Milk River corridor between Havre and Glasgow, Rosgaard commented. Good numbers of birds and almost all we have checked are this years hatch. The season goes until Dec. 15, so there is plenty of time yet to get out and get your pheasant.
Hunters are reporting that pheasants are really scattered all over the prairie. They will stay like that until the first major snow when they will bunch together in more brushy areas.
Other upland bird numbers are good as well.
The Sharp Tailed grouse and hun season goes until Dec. 15, and grouse numbers are doing really well in the foothill country of both Hill and Blaine Counties, Rosgaard said.
As for Sage grouse, Rosgaard went on to explain that that season is over on Nov. 1.
It looks like Sage grouse numbers are better this year and hunters can best find them in sage habitat in Blaine and Phillips counties, Rosgaard said.