High winds keep Region 5 hunters home

BILLINGS – A total of 516 big game hunters visited check stations in Big Timber, Columbus, Lavina and Billings over the third weekend of the general season.

On Saturday, winds in the Columbus area exceeded 50 mph, and hunter numbers reflected these poor conditions. The Columbus check station had the second lowest number of hunters ever recorded for week three. Big Timber and Billings, on the other hand, saw numbers that were equal to or just above the yearly average. Lavina was the busiest check station in the region over the weekend, with a record 178 hunters.

Three friends share thoughts on their first hunting season (Video courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

Montana Fish, Wildlife and parks

With hunter numbers down in some areas, success rates were higher than long-term averages across the region.

“Despite complaints of low mule deer numbers, we checked some of the largest mule deer bucks I’ve seen in several years, and the rut is just getting started,” said FWP wildlife biologist Justin Paugh in Big Timber. “It will be interesting to see what buck size we see during the peak of the rut.”

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