Despite mild weather throughout November, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will not extend the 2016 big game general season, still 41 hunting districts have shoulder season that allow antlerless elk hunting, largely on private land, through Dec., and in several instances, into the new year.
Fresh snow on the Beartooth Front and balmy conditions elsewhere in south central Montana over the weekend did little to change hunter effort or the number of animals harvested during the 2016 general big-game hunting season.
With just one week left in this year’s general season, the deer harvest counted at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ three regional check stations remained lower than average, but better than a year ago and trending upward. The elk harvest has slowed from the 2015 season, but remains above the long-term average.
Though Montana’s big game general season is more than halfway complete, some of the hunting license types can still be confusing.
In Montana, most licenses and all permits, no matter the species, have a five-digit code. These codes are unique for each license or permit type and determine the species, the dates, the hunting districts and weapon the license or permit is valid for, as defined by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks hunting regulations.
As many furbearer seasons across Montana open in December, trappers and hunters should note a few changes to regulations.
During the second year of jaw collection, pelt tags will not be issued until hunters or trappers harvesting a bobcat, otter or swift fox provide a cleaned and air dried, complete lower jaw (both sides) for aging. The lower jaw must be reasonably free from flesh and hide and air dried so that jaws can be mailed to a lab for processing. The whole skull is no longer required to be turned in, only the lower jaw.
It’s not too soon to submit your application for the 2017 pheasant release through the state Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program. Landowners interested in releasing pen-reared ring-necked pheasants have until Jan. 15 to submit an application.
The Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society will be showing the film, “Wild Flyers,” Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Mayflower Congregational Church on the corner of Poly and Rehberg Dr. in Billings. This film reveals the incredible adaptions, tactics and brand new discoveries that explain how animals have mastered the sky and why they need it to survive.
Tyler Lord from Laurel shot this nice bull elk while hunting with his dad the second weekend of the season. It was taken in the Missouri Breaks with his 270 caliber rifle that his uncle Greg Wood gave him. Tyler’s Father, Curtis Lord was able to sneak Tyler to within 100 yards for a great shot.
Montana’s 2016 general big-game season featured warm temperatures and light-to-gusty winds for the fourth weekend in a row, making for difficult, albeit comfortable, hunting conditions throughout south central Montana.