Posted: Nov 25, 2012 9:13 PM by Lindsey Gordon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AUGUSTA - Sunday was the end of the hunting season for most big game in Montana.
This year wasn't noticeably different from last, according to Brent Lonner, a wildlife biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
As hunters pulled up with their take on the last day of hunting, they're weighed and measured as they are every day during the season. That information will help determine next year's season and what Brent does next.
"You get all that harvest data, then we can go out after the hunting season during winter when a lot of the animals are on winter range and concentrated and then get surveys done," said Brent.
The hunters that check in here hunt in a few key areas.
"The sun canyon, the sun river country, down through the Dearborn River country," Brent adds.
That's where Augusta hunter Harlow Luloff shot his buck earlier this morning.
"It's a nice buck. And we waited all season long, we had a lot of little ones we could have shot," reflects Harlow.
Because he is retired, he went hunting nearly every day this season.
"We hate to see the end of the season," he finishes.
Although the season was a little warmer overall, the snowstorm may have helped make the season more successful.
"[The snow and cold] Gets animals moving around more. Starts moving them down towards lower elevations, closer to winter range, so then it also helps with hunting success to," said Brent.
As of Saturday, Region 4 check station has seen nearly 450 elk, one black bear, more than 250 mule deer, and almost 300 white tail deer.
Of about 4,000 hunters, nearly a quarter of them were successful this season.
The population numbers in the area are still pretty good, too.
"Mule deer numbers are the only ones that are a little low, but white tails are real strong, elk numbers are real strong," said Brent.
Now all that is left to do is analyze that data, and start planning for next year's season.