With hunting seasons wrapping in most of the region, look for special late archery and muzzleloader opportunities.
The woods will be much quieter if you're out this week. When November ended so did virtually all of the Northwest's general hunting seasons. There are still a few opportunities for hunters, especially bow or muzzleloader hunters. Hunters in Montana have the opportunity to head out for the state's inaugural muzzleloader heritage hunting season which runs Dec. 11-19, 2021. Western Oregon has some late-season archery hunts open for blacktails. Washington also has late-season archery opportunities for blacktails, whitetails, and mule deer, in addition to some late-season muzzleloader opportunities. Wyoming has a handful of archery-only and general season areas open through parts of December.
Idaho residents have a new opportunity to fill a deer tag. Officials there recently announced an emergency Chronic Wasting Disease hunt after CWD was detected in two mule deer for the first time ever in the state. Idaho Fish and Game is offering 1,500 deer tags for its CWD surveillance hunt that starts Dec. 7, 2021. Thirty-five hunting areas are included. Any deer harvested during a surveillance hunt must be tested for CWD. Fish and Game officials say the hunt is to gather more information about the disease, not manage it in the long term. Fish and Game staff will stop the hunt as soon as enough samples have been collected.
With very limited options for hunting, not only have hunter numbers dropped dramatically, but rut activity is also coming to a close. In the final days of Montana's hunting season I saw several young mule deer bucks off on their own. More mature bucks still seemed to be with groups of does, but chasing and breeding was very minimal. Friends hunting whitetails reported similar activity across the state. This seems to be the general consensus that I'm hearing from contacts across the Northwestern states for blacktails, whitetails, and mule deer.
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