KALISPELL, Mont. — The game check harvest numbers in Northwest Montana continued to stay low this hunting season and it's enough to push Montana Wildlife officials to host public meetings about the future of deer populations.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park officials told NBC Montana the past couple harsh winters are partly to blame for these low deer populations.
Official harvest numbers are not out for this season yet, but game check station numbers show the harvest as slightly below average. FWP Region 1’s Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson said they expect the final harvest numbers to be close to the game check survey.
FWP officials said some hunters are raising concerns.
"These meetings we are trying to have now allow us to actually engage more and have more of an open discussion, not only with sportsmen, but for sportsmen to have a conversation between themselves as to what they'd like to see cause there's a lot of different opinions in values out there." said Anderson.
No decision will come out of the meetings. In the fall, FWP officials will decide how to manage the current deer population.
"Typically what's happened in the past is when numbers went down we'd really back off on antlerless harvest and that does allow the population to rebound more quickly, but in doing that it also causes a lot of change in the regulations," Anderson said.
This is why they want to hear from sportsmen, so they can make the best decision for them and the populations.
The Kalispell meeting takes place on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at FWP’s Region 1 offices.
The other meetings will be held in Libby, Trout Creek and Eureka.
Click here for specific dates and times.