This year may be the year you successfully fill your freezer. Finally, a chance for you to bag a big game animal. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks have released their annual hunting season forecast for 2023.

Using biologist data, FWP predicts the possible harvest for this Fall.

Across the board, it appears all regions of Montana are benefiting from the mild winters we have experienced the last few years. The survival rates of both fawn deer and calf elk are up in almost every corner of the state. Meaning that there should be an abundance of mature animals for the annual harvest.

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Western Montana looks like it will have a good year for both deer and elk harvests.

The mild winters have really paid off for production and mortality numbers in western Montana. With whitetail and elk seeing spikes in population.

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According to the FWP forecast for western Montana

Following three consecutive mild winters, the 2022-2023 winter was a return to a colder and snowier season across the region. Although the winter was long, animals headed into the winter in good condition last fall, and coupled with the moderate snow levels, spring surveys showed that most populations remained relatively stable. An abnormally cool spring delayed green-up, however above average precipitation through June provided for good forage, which should have contributed to fast recovery of fat stores and good antler growth.

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With the big game archery season kicking off this Labor Day weekend, many Montanans, including myself, are gearing up to head to the field. It is important to be aware of the high temperatures this time of year. Take precautions for the heat, and plan ahead on how you will process and cool an animal in the field, should you be fortunate enough to bag one.

General hunting season 2023 (rifle season) kicks off October 21st and runs through November 26th

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