Whitetail and mule deer alike are finally on the rise in northeastern Montana.
Based on a recent Fish, Wildlife and Parks survey reported by the Billings Gazette in Montana, mule deer and whitetail populations are stable, and now on the rise in Region 6 of northeastern Montana.
"Mule deer trends continue to show a steady recovery across the region in the last few years," said FWP biologist Ryan Williamson.
Based on survey results, mule deer are clearly not only stable, but on the rise. The post hunting survey showed the regionwide mule deer population at 49 percent above average, which is 17 percent above the 2015 survey.
When surveys are done in Montana by the FWP, they look at deer density, as opposed to total deer numbers, for trends. Based on the 2016 report, deer densities sit at an average of 6.7 deer per square mile across the surveyed area, which is roughly 39 percent below the long term average of 11 deer per square mile. It is still an improvement from last year though, as the 2015 results yielded a 47 percent below average.
As recent as 2010, whitetail densities were as high as 40 to 50 deer per square mile in the same areas. EHD and other factors in the following years reduced the whitetail population across Region 6 considerably.
Based on whitetail numbers increasing across region 6, and in accordance with Fish and Wildlife Commission rule setting, a single-region antlerless whitetail B license will be available for over the counter purchase starting August 8th. They will be limited to one per hunter.
Chronic Wasting Disease is a major concern of the FWP as well. With higher deer numbers, the threat of CWD is becoming more and more prominent in northeastern Montana. "It is just a matter of when and where CWD will be detected in Montana," Williamson went on to say.
With deer numbers on the rise, the northeastern region of Montana could be a great place to hunt in the future.