Fish, Wildlife & Parks FWP
GREAT FALLS – This year’s general rifle season opener in the Augusta area was met with wet, snowy, foggy and windy conditions, leading to below-average hunter participation and harvest success.
A total of 164 hunters passed through the Augusta check station over the two-day opening weekend – 28% below the 10-year average. Although inclement weather typically leads to favorable conditions for big game hunting, the combination of cool, wet weather and low visibility had many hunters content to remain at home and wait for better conditions in the weeks ahead.
Harvest success was also low with only 28 big game animals checked, which is 36% below the 10-year average. Mule and white-tailed deer harvest were approximately 5% and 39% below recent averages. Total deer harvest includes several deer that were brought to the check station by youth hunters during the two-day youth deer season on Thursday and Friday prior to the general opening day. Elk harvest amounted to just under half of a normal opening weekend. In addition to the deer and elk, one black bear and a