BILLINGS- New harvest numbers show hunting is down in south-central Montana this season, and last weekend’s cooler weather and snowy conditions could be to blame.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks saw an overall decline from last year in numbers of big-game hunters who stopped at its check stations and the number of harvested animals they reported.
A snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow on the Beartooths kept hunters home.
The Fish and Wildlife Billings Heights check station was down sharply from last year. Wildlife biologists checked 341 hunters, well below 505 hunters who stopped during the same weekend in 2017.
Over the weekend, 153 hunters stopped at the Columbus check station, down 29 from the same weekend a year ago.
At the Lavina check station, 183 hunters stopped over the weekend, the second smallest number on record and 12 percent fewer than the same weekend in 2017.