By Robert Lucke
Maybe elsewhere, the just past big game season was less than successful but not so in this locality. Havre Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Al Rosgaard is happy with what he has seen and counted to date.
"What we saw all fall in this country were dry conditions and no snow. Hunters were more able to get to deer more readily, especially in the Missouri Breaks country," Rosgaard said. "Even though it might have seemed like conditions weren't so good for tracking without snow, the numbers say otherwise."
That was more than true right around Havre.
"Here locally it was an above average big game year. Hunters did well," Rosgaard added.
Young deer were noted by FWP officials.
"Generally it was encouraging that there was a good number of younger bucks from mule deer and white-tailed deer. There was a good fawn production. Particularly with mule-deer, their numbers are back on the increase," Rosgaard continued.
Maybe no Boone and Crockett records but big racks were common this season.
"I haven't had time to look at the points but generally we saw more older age white-tailed deer," Rosgaard said. "I don't know if I saw any that would qualify for Boone and Crockett but there were some pretty nice trophies there."
Block management got good reviews this season.
"We all heard some good comments from land owners and sportsman both. We are getting some pretty successful hunts out of Block Management areas in Blaine, Chouteau and Hill Counties," Rosgaard related.
Mule deer numbers were really up this season.
"Generally it looked like hunters had better success than last year. The mule deer population is on the increase in region six and the numbers and sizes of bucks seem to be better too this year," Rosgaard said. "We checked 30 percent more mule deer this year than last year. Buck numbers were a 45 percent increase. We are getting samples from all the hunting districts to the east but most were from the Bear Paws, North Blaine and the Missouri Breaks."
White-tailed deer numbers were a little off.
"We checked ten percent fewer whitetails this year. I think that most of that was related to the fact that mule deer were easier to come by. There were more mule deer available," Rosgaard said. "And with whitetails, I think weather was more of a factor. Nice weather they are spread out over the country. In cold weather they are closer together in river bottoms. They are easier to hunt in those situations."
Bird hunters had outstanding hunts this year.
"With all birds it seemed like hunters were successful," Rosgaard continued. "There was a good hatch this year especially with pheasants on the river between Havre and Glasgow. That area was very good."
Maybe the best news of all was that the mule deer decline of the past few years has turned around. Numbers are up in this area.
"There were good numbers of deer," Rosgaard said. "It was a good harvest. It seemed like hunters saw deer where they hadn't seen deer in the last couple of years."