Fewer hunters and a reduced harvest were the general rule at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' check stations in Region 3 the past two weekends.
Much of the drop in activity is likely due to unseasonably warm temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s. Most of the snow in many areas is gone, except on north-facing slopes in upper elevations. This has made it challenging for hunters to find elk.
Biologists at the Cameron check station checked 278 hunters over weekend three, and 298 hunters in weekend four. These numbers were below average, but overall hunter success in this area was within the long-term average.
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Hunter numbers at the Divide check station were within the long-term average for weekend three, but they were 7 percent below average for weekend four. Hunter success there over weekend three was 58 percent below the 10-year average, likely driven by poor weather conditions. Harvest picked up in weekend four but was still about 8 percent below average.
Hunter numbers and success were below average at the Mill Creek check station, though only three years of data are available for weekend three at this station. Weekend four saw 19 percent fewer hunter numbers from 2018, but 23 percent more harvest.