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Southeastern Montana Hunting Forecast

August 20, 2009.

From Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks:

Montana's fall hunting season has begun for Antelope archery hunters. Upland game bird begins September first. Overall, the outlook for the 2009 fall hunting season looks good for southeastern Montana.

FWP Region 7—Southeastern Montana

Pheasant populations have moved into marginal habitat suggesting above average populations in several locations. Dense spring vegetative growth has made it difficult to see spring broods of pheasant. The wet and cool spring may have impacted nesting and brood rearing success in some locations but biologists have yet to confirm this.

Region 7—Southeastern Montana

Elk populations are building in the Missouri Breaks and the southern portions of FWP Region 7. Winter conditions were difficult for some species but elk seemed to have   experienced good winter survival.

Winter post season surveys in 2008 for the Missouri Breaks found 36 bulls for every 100 cows. Of the bulls, 42 percent were yearling and 58 percent of the remaining bulls were six point or better. No survey flights are scheduled for spring of 2009.

A February/March elk survey in the Custer National Forest (Ashland Ranger District) found 325 elk with 30 bulls to 100 cows and 36 calves to 100 cows.

Access to private land should be arranged well in advance of the hunt and permission may be difficult to obtain.

Region 7—Southeastern Montana

In Miles City and the surrounding area, both species of deer wintered well and benefitted from abundant spring forage. White-tail deer populations along the Yellowstone River, between Glendive and Sidney, are 70 - 75 percent above the long-term average. The ratio of white-tailed deer bucks to does is 30 - 40 bucks per 100 does.

Biologist’s believe that if EHD were to surface in the white-tail populations along the Yellowstone the subsequent die off may be large.

Mule deer populations are about 18 percent above the long-term average, with a good percentage of mature adults. A post season mule deer survey found 30 bucks to 100 does and 70 fawns to 100 does. Hunters should find ample opportunity to harvest mule deer.

Region 7—Southeastern Montana near Glendive and Miles City

In FWP Region 7, the southeastern part of the region experienced some yearling and fawn mortality over the winter. Overall the antelope population is about 7 percent below the long-term average due to a winter with sustained snow cover. The yearling crop was reduced due to severe winter conditions. Surveys indicate 58 bucks for every 100 does. Hunters should find antelope scattered across the region.

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