The Roundup -

Montana Deer Licenses Are Up


October 11, 2017 | View PDF

Sherry and Clint Hecker, of High Caliber Sports.

Eastern Montana hunters are preparing for this year's deer harvest with eager expectation. Various local sources indicate that deer licenses are up, but the number of hunters may be down. According to data provided by the Montana Game and Fish, licenses available have increased from years past and more deer will be allowed to be taken by hunters.

The Roundup spoke to Montana Game and Fish officer, Ryan Karren, about the increased licenses.

"They did increase the mule deer numbers quite a bit," Officer Karren said. "This is especially true for mule deer, and hunters will be able to get a good many more doe tags in local areas."

Karren explained that it was hard to tell whether or not participation was up, considering the regular rifle season has not quite started. Archery season, however, is well under way. Karren suggested that the number of out-of-state or non-local hunters seems down, but that's a potential bonus when it comes to hunting violations.

"It doesn't seem like there's nearly as many people around this year. The people I see have been mostly locals," Karren said. "It's hard to tell, and it seems like there's always a steady flow of illegal activity, but there does some to be less confusion when it's mainly locals hunting.

Deer populations around the state seem to be up. Fish Wildlife and Parks has scheduled a late archery-only hunt within the city limits of Roundup in order to curb an over-abundance of town-dwelling deer. The hunt will run all the way through February 15, and hunters must receive permission from the city and be assigned to a particular area of town. According to Karren, Roundup isn't the only town that is allowing archery within the city limits.

"When deer are overpopulated, it's a problem for cities to manage," said Karren. "Ekalaka, Baker, and Glendive also offer hunts in the city limits because of the issues caused by so many deer."

Local owner of High Caliber, a firearms and sporting equipment retailer, Clint Hecker, also told The Roundup that there has been an increase in hunting firearms but it's not out of the ordinary given the season.

"We have been selling more bolt-action rifles and shotguns, but that's not unexpected just prior to hunting season," Hecker explained. "But, I don't think it's necessarily increased from years past. The [shooting] in Las Vegas has prompted some purchasing trends, but not necessarily this hunting season."

"Tags for area 700 have been in abundance but they are running out," Hecker advised. "What someone has to do is watch the Game and Fish website, and see when they're offering the tags. Look on the website and it will tell you and then you might want to hurry."

When asked if he had seen any sizable bucks taken yet this archery season, Hecker confirmed that he had seen several. Customers occasionally bring in photographs of the deer that they have harvested, and there were numerous individuals with trophy mounts.

With fewer hunters expected and more tags than normal, residents have a better than average chance of getting the deer they want.


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