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In: Shadow of the Rockies

The weekend after Thanksgiving brought more wintry weather for big game season-closing check stations on Sunday, Dec. 1. Hunter numbers were down from last year at two of three stations in Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 7, along with success rates.
“Hunters seemed generally satisfied with their seasons,” said Region 7 Wildlife Biologist Melissa Foster, “but many acknowledged that the weather limited their time in the field this season.”
Spring aerial surveys showed that both mule deer and white-tailed deer populations in Region 7 remained above long-term averages before the general season, but wider forage patterns and spotty weather likely had an impact on harvest success.
A wet spring and lush habitat meant plenty of food for wildlife heading into winter, so animals may have been a bit more spread out than usual. Couple that with on-again, off-again winter weather throughout the season, and conditions were challenging at times for hunters to harvest game.
Glendive check station
Glendive checked 21 mule deer (14 bucks, seven does) and three whitetails (two bucks, one doe) on Dec. 1. Hunters also brought seven pheasants through.
Hysham check station
Hysham had 93 hunters come through, with nearly 64 percent of them successful. The same time last year, workers there saw 159 hunters and a 68 percent harvest rate. This year hunters bagged 35 mule deer (25 bucks, 10 does) and 32 white-tailed deer (26 bucks, six does). One Canada goose and two sharp-tailed grouse also made the tally. In 2018, hunters harvested 78 mule deer and 29 white-tailed deer.
Ashland check station
Harvest rates were down at the Ashland station, with just 31 percent of the 64 hunters finding success. Workers checked 11 mule deer (five bucks, six does), 11 white-tailed deer (six bucks, five does) and two cow elk. This was down from 64 mule deer, 13 white-tailed deer and seven elk last year.
Deer in Rosebud County tests positive for CWD
Last week samples from 25 deer harvested around the state tested positive for CWD, including a white-tailed buck taken in Hunting District 702 in Rosebud County between Miles City and Ashland. The deer was harvested in an area where CWD had not previously been detected; however, the site is adjacent to an existing CWD Management Zone.
This is the fourth deer that has tested positive for CWD in Region 7, with the first three cases being reported in just the past two weeks. Portions of southeast Montana are priority surveillance areas for CWD this season.

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