BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Southwest Montana saw fewer hunters during the general hunting season this year, and the weather made it challenging for those hunters who did take the field, according to the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Success rates for the season, which ended Dec. 1, were within long-term averages but varied across the region, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

The Cameron check station, south of Ennis and the most trafficked in the area, saw 2,367 hunters this season — the lowest since 2013 when 2,212 passed through the station.

Data from the six weekends of the general season indicate Cameron had an average elk harvest with 168 recorded, an average white-tailed deer harvest with 22 recorded and a below average mule deer harvest with 37 recorded.

Strong snow storms deterred many hunters during opening weekend and freeze-thaw cycles over the remainder of the season made it difficult to find game in some spots, according to a FWP news release.

Now that the season has ended, FWP is beginning its biannual process of setting dates for the next two hunting seasons. The state agency will present and solicit feedback on proposals at meetings this winter, including one in Bozeman on Jan. 15.

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