This past weekend was the end of general rifle season and although there were about one thousand less hunter trips recorded, Fish, Wildlife and Parks Public Information Officer Vivica Crowser says the season ended well.

“We ended up in West-Central Montana with hunter harvest totals that were up from last year, and actually up from the past four years, so it was a good season all in all,” Crowser said. “The whitetail deer harvest was very good, the highest we have seen in quite a number of years. The mule deer harvest was down, we have been seeing that trend, so nothing that was unexpected, also, the elk harvest was up.“

Just under a thousand animals went through the three hunter check stations and over 600 of them were whitetail. The high number of whitetail mean that there will likely be more hunting opportunities next year.

“We are actually looking at reintroducing some antlerless harvest opportunities for the next couple years,” Crowser said. “For those of us who have been hunting around here for a while remember ten or fifteen years ago, when there were more doe hunting opportunity for whitetail, then we cut back on that to help the population rebound, and now we are seeing that, so it looks like we are going to be able to open that back up.”

All in all, 11, 115 hunter trips were recorded this hunting season, which is down by about eight percent from last year, conversely, the harvest total increased by six percent.