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Montana Antelope Season Off To Slow, Soggy Start

October 15, 2008.

From Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks:

Deep, wet snow that blanketed the region over the weekend kept many hunters home for the antelope rifle season opening day. And those who went to the field in south central Montana found limited success.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks operated two check stations Sunday in Region 5 – one on the north edge of Billings and one near Big Timber. Biologists said hunters who stopped at both stations said they had difficulty getting to their planned area and that snow limited their ability to hunt.

At the Billings station, 84 hunters checked 19 antelope, for a success ratio of 22 percent. During opening weekend last year, 285 hunters checked 176 antelope for a success ratio of 62 percent.

In Big Timber, 127 hunters checked 64 antelope, for a success ratio of about 50 percent. Last year 197 hunters harvested 181 antelope, for a success ratio of 92 percent.

Biologist Jay Newell of Roundup said FWP decided not to operate a check station at Broadview for antelope opening day because of ice, snow and anticipated low hunter turnout.

Biologist Justin Paugh of Big Timber said many hunters told him that they were limited by the weather.

Because of the low turnout, biologists plan to operate all check stations next weekend. Scientific information gathered at check stations is an important factor in management of the state’s wildlife.

In Montana, all hunters and anglers are required to stop at designated check stations both on their way to and from the field, even if they have no game or fish to report.

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