Kalispell — Montana’s general hunting season starts this week with a deer-only, two-day youth hunt followed by the five-week deer and elk rifle season.
The youth hunt for deer is limited to ages 12–15 and runs Oct. 21-22, 2021. The general deer and elk season runs Oct. 23 – Nov. 28, 2021.
In northwest Montana, FWP will operate game check stations at specific locations on weekends from 10 a.m. to approximately 1.5 hours past sunset. The regional game check stations will be located at U.S. Highway 2 West of Kalispell, Montana Highway 83 north of Swan Lake, Highway 200 west of Thompson Falls, and Highway 93 near Olney.
Hunters must stop at any check station they encounter whether they harvested an animal or not.
Northwest Montana (Region 1) Reminders
Contact a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office for more information. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.
Chronic Wasting Disease
This year, FWP will continue surveillance for chronic wasting disease in specific areas known as Priority Surveillance Areas. In northwestern Montana, those areas include Hunting Districts 100, 103, 104, 120, 121, 122 and 170. In those specific areas, hunters are asked to voluntarily submit a sample from their animal. For instructions on how or where to submit a sample, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.
Testing for CWD is voluntary throughout the state. FWP will assist hunters with sample collection and submission. In northwest Montana, hunters can bring their animal to the FWP office in Kalispell, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. FWP staff will also assist with CWD sample collection at game check stations when possible and safety allows, based on traffic at the station. Stopping at game check stations remains mandatory. FWP will cover the cost of testing hunter-harvested animals for CWD.
A CWD sampling station in Libby will operate Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, 10 a.m. to 1.5 hours past sunset at the Montana Department of Transportation shop on U.S. Highway 2 south of town. Hunters are not required to stop at the Libby CWD sampling station.
Hunters who want their animal sampled should leave 2 to 4 inches of the neck below the low jawbone and base of the skull to ensure lymph nodes are present and not inadvertently left with the carcass. Samples cannot be collected from frozen heads.
To help prevent the spread of CWD, all carcasses, including the head and spinal column, must be disposed of in a class II landfill after butchering and processing. Dumping carcasses is illegal, unethical and can spread diseases, including chronic wasting disease. This requirement applies to all deer, elk, and moose carcasses harvested by hunters or as vehicle-killed salvage.
Game Check Stations in Region 1 (Northwest Montana)
All hunters must stop at open check stations they encounter.
US Highway 2 west of Kalispell: Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m. – 1.5 hours after sunset.
Swan: Highway 83 north of Swan Lake: Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m. – 1.5 hours after sunset.
Thompson Falls: Highway 200 on the west end of Thompson Falls: Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m. – 1.5 hours after sunset.
Olney: Highway 93: Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m. – 1.5 hours after sunset.
2021 CWD Sampling Stations in Northwest Montana (Region 1)
For questions, call (406) 752-5501 or visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd
FWP Region 1 Office, Kalispell: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Libby: Montana Department of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2: Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays, 10 a.m. – 1.5 hours after sunset.