While numbers remain robust in much of northeastern and eastern Montanaâ€”FWP Regions 6 and 7â€” the hard winter of 2008-09 clearly took a toll on animals in some areas.Â Â Consequently, antelope numbers statewide are largely at or below those seen over past few years.
“Antelope hunting will be something less than what weâ€™ve been used to in some areas,” said Quentin Kujala, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife management section supervisor. “Numbers are still strong in much of eastern Montana and have in fact increased in specific portions of southwest Montana, but hunters will likely see decreased numbers in a large portion of central Montanaâ€”portions of FWPâ€™s Region 4 and 5.
In FWP Region 5 in the Billings area, n o new instances of viral blue tongue infection have been found as they were in 2007, but in hunting districts 513, 530, 540 and 550, fawn recruitment and total numbers have yet to rebound. In other areas of FWP Region 5 antelope numbers have increased and the hunting outlook is good.
In FWP Region 4 hunters can expect very good hunting opportunities to the north, but region wide not the exceptional circumstances in recent years. Antelope numbers are returning to average in contrast to the very high numbers seen in recent years.
Kujala said many archery antelope hunters are already afield with a 900 series license to archery hunt antelope in any hunting district starting with a 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The 900-series season runs until Nov. 9.
Montanaâ€™s antelope archery season is Sept. 5â€”Oct. 10 and the general rifle season for antelope is Oct. 11â€”Nov. 8.
Antelope hunters must apply in advance for licenses.