Montana considers changes to mule deer season length in Regions 1 and 2


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Shorter mule deer seasons are in the works in western Montana. Last week, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission advanced several proposals that would help struggling populations in Region 1 and Region 2 due to dwindling habitat, according to the Montana Standard

“I don’t think it’s any secret that we’ve seen a decline in the overall mule deer population over the last decade, probably the last two decades, all across northwest Montana and I think that would apply to other states with similar habitat,” said Neil Anderson, Region 1’s wildlife program manager.

Anderson noted that logging has decreased in those particular regions and “thick re-growth of forests” doesn’t support healthy mule deer herds and has, in fact, impacted “both distribution and numbers.” 

While Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) considered several different options to boost herds, the following breakdown is what has been advanced through the commission and will be open to a 30-day public comment period. The commission will vote on the final proposal in February. 

  • Region 1:

    • Combine most of Hunting District (HD) 101 with HD 109 south and west of Eureka into HD 101. Mule deer hunting will be for bucks only and for general licenses during the first three weeks of the season. Limited permit tags will be open during the last two weeks of the season with a quota of 15.

  • Region 2:

    • Unlimited permits will be eliminated and shortened seasons put in place. HDs 204, 212, 213, 214, 215, 217, 240, 281 and 292 will be a three-week season (compared to the current five-week season). MFWP also wants to shorten the season in HD 285 and move HD 282 to limited permits.

  • Region 3:

    • MFWP proposed switching HDs 380 and 392 to limited permits.

For more information on the proposed changes, click here. Note: there are several other proposals for deer and elk in others regions of the state as well.

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