Hunting numbers about the same as last year

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, mule deer numbers are stronger in the prairies and foothills of south central Montana are stronger than in the mountains. Overall numbers are nearly the same or slightly better than last year.
Along the face of the Beartooth Mountains and the western slopes of the Pryors, mule deer numbers remain quite low except for northwest of Red Lodge, where numbers are approaching the long-term average.
Mule deer northwest of Billings are at record numbers while, north of the Musselshell River to the Snowy Mountain foothills, they are similar to last year and increasing slowly. Northeast of Harlowton biologists counted fewer mule deer this past spring. Northwest of Harlowton last year’s mule deer buck harvest was the highest in five years.
In the Boulder River drainage and in hunting districts north of Big Timber, mule deer numbers are mostly the same as last year and slightly above the long-term average. The number of bucks and the antlered-deer harvest in those districts remains low, however.
North and east of Billings, mule deer numbers and last years’ harvest were slightly above average and similar to last year. The number of fawns is slightly below the long-term average.
White-tailed deer numbers appear to continue their rebound from the 2011 disease outbreak that drastically thinned the herds.
In the Boulder River drainage and hunting districts north of Big Timber, white-tailed deer hunters should expect an experience similar to last year as numbers are stable to slightly better than in 2016. In the Stillwater, Red Lodge Creek and East Rosebud areas, white-tailed deer numbers have recovered nicely with relatively high numbers of bucks.
Along the Musselshell River downstream from Shawmut and along Flatwillow Creek, white-tailed deer numbers have rebounded to levels seen before the 2011 outbreak.
North and east of Billings, white-tailed deer numbers continue to increase from the most recent disease outbreak with estimated populations the second largest in 35 years.
Elk numbers throughout south central Montana remain at record highs. Access to private land where many of the elk spend the hunting season is difficult. The number of elk are below objectives only in the upper Boulder River drainage, where much of the land is accessible.
Antelope densities south of the Yellowstone River southwest of Billings are below average. But, between the Yellowstone and Musselshell rivers, numbers are close to all-time highs. In all areas between Columbus and Harlowton, the number of antelope is stable and near the long-term average. Biologists reported seeing quite a few large antelope bucks during this summer’s surveys.
North of the Musselshell River, antelope numbers have increased slightly from last year and are approaching the long-term average. Northwest of Roundup, antelope numbers increase some the further north one hunts.
East of Billings, antelope numbers are looking better north of the Yellowstone River while herds south of the Yellowstone continue to struggle. South of the river, buck/doe rations are lower than average and hunter success has been below average for the past two years. North of the river, antelope numbers – and fawns in particular – area the highest since 1989 and they continued to increase this summer.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961

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