KALISPELL – Montana’s general hunting season begins this week with a two-day deer hunt only, followed by the five-week deer and elk rifle season.
The deer hunt for young people is limited to 12 to 15 year olds and takes place on October 21 and 22. The general deer and elk season runs from October 23 to November 28.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) will operate game control stations at specific locations on weekends from 10 a.m. to approximately 1:30 a.m. after sunset.
Regional game control stations will be located on US Highway 2 west of Kalispell, Montana Highway 83 north of Swan Lake, Montana Highway 200 west of Thompson Falls, and on US Highway 93 near ‘Olney.
FWP notes that hunters must stop at any checkpoint they come across, whether or not they’ve harvested an animal.
Northwest Montana Recalls
- Hunters should review the regulations for each hunting district they plan to hunt.
- Elk hunting is only practiced in northwestern Montana. Elk are not legal game in this region.
- Hunters who have purchased permit B 199-20 for white-tailed deer of both sexes can only use this permit in the CWD management area of ââLibby.
- Mule deer hunting in the North Fisher portion of Hunting District 103, near Libby, is only permitted.
- Many private lands that historically belonged to logging companies have changed ownership, and hunters should review the block management program for Region 1 to see available public access opportunities and restrictions on private lands.
- The first week of archery and general deer and elk season is open to youth (ages 12 to 15) hunting on the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge. A non-hunter adult at least 18 years old must accompany the young hunter on the ground. Adults cannot cross refuge property for the purpose of hunting non-refuge property during the juvenile hunting season.
- Hunters should âbe bear watchfulâ and properly store food and carcasses. Hunters should avoid hanging carcasses near homes or garages. Carcasses must be suspended at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from any vertical support. Hunters are encouraged to wear bear spray and know how to use it.
Contact a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office for more information. In Northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.
Chronic wasting disease
This year, the FWP will continue surveillance for chronic wasting disease in specific areas known as priority surveillance areas. In northwestern Montana, these areas include hunting districts 100, 103, 104, 120, 121, 122, and 170. In these specific areas, hunters are encouraged to voluntarily submit a sample of their animal. Click here to find out how and where to submit a sample.
Testing for CWD is voluntary statewide. The FWP will help hunters collect and submit samples. In northwest Montana, hunters can bring their animal to the FWP office in Kalispell, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. . Stopping at game checkpoints remains compulsory. The FWP will cover the cost of testing for CWD on animals harvested by hunters.
A CWD sampling station in Libby will operate Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. after sunset, at the Montana Department of Transportation store on US Highway 2 south of the city. Hunters are not required to stop at the Libby CWD Sampling Station.
Hunters who wish their animal to be sampled should leave 2 “to 4” of the neck below the lower jaw and the base of the skull to ensure that lymph nodes are present and not inadvertently left with the carcass. Samples cannot be taken from frozen heads.
To help prevent the spread of cervid encephalopathy, all carcasses, including head and spine, should be disposed of in a Class II landfill after butchering and processing. Throwing away carcasses is illegal, unethical, and can spread disease, including chronic wasting disease. This requirement applies to all deer, elk and moose carcasses harvested by hunters or as salvage vehicles killed.
Gaming control stations in Northwest Montana – (All hunters must stop at open checkpoints they come across)
- US Highway 2 West of Kalispell: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. after sunset.
- Swan: Highway 83 north of Swan Lake: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. after sunset.
- Thompson Falls: Highway 200 at the west end of Thompson Falls: Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. after sunset.
- Olney: Highway 93: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. after sunset.
CWD 2021 sampling stations in Northwest Montana
- For questions, call (406) 752-5501 or click here.
- FWP Region 1 Office, Kalispell: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Libby: Montana Department of Transportation store on US Hwy 2: Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. after sunset.