Sitka Mountain Gear
Montana winter kill
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
LKH 08-Mar-18
Bigdan 08-Mar-18
Steve H. 08-Mar-18
tradmt 08-Mar-18
Bigdan 08-Mar-18
spike78 08-Mar-18
LKH 08-Mar-18
ELKMAN 10-Mar-18
SBH 10-Mar-18
LKH 10-Mar-18
Ucsdryder 10-Mar-18
LKH 10-Mar-18
ELKMAN 11-Mar-18
Pat Lefemine 11-Mar-18
LKH 11-Mar-18
tradmt 11-Mar-18
Missouribreaks 11-Mar-18
beemann 11-Mar-18
Buglmin 11-Mar-18
HUNT MAN 11-Mar-18
Dooner 11-Mar-18
ELKMAN 12-Mar-18
ROUGHCOUNTRY 12-Mar-18
APauls 12-Mar-18
sschindler 12-Mar-18
LKH 12-Mar-18
LKH 14-Mar-18
Missouribreaks 15-Mar-18
sschindler 15-Mar-18
Matte 15-Mar-18
LKH 16-Mar-18
ELKMAN 17-Mar-18
LKH 17-Mar-18
From: LKH
08-Mar-18
I'm about 20 miles SW of Lewistown. The combination of snow on deeply frozen ground, then some melting followed by quite a bit of snow has put the pressure on the deer. I'm putting out 50# each of pellets and cracked corn. Feeding about 45 plus grain for the pheasants, sharptails and Hungarians. We lost 90% plus of our whitetails to EHD about 6 years ago and I hope to prevent that number dying again.

Even so, north of us along Hwy 2 and other areas, the snow is much worse. Zortman, north of the Missouri just got 15".

Does anyone have any information on how the muleys, antelope, and elk are doing? Could be a lousy year to hunt that area.

From: Bigdan
08-Mar-18
I heard that there were deer dying around Malta fawns first and I have two in my yard here in kalispell

From: Steve H.
08-Mar-18
How's it looking say straight south of you closer to the border...?

From: tradmt
08-Mar-18
So far, not terrible but the next few weeks are going to be critical, we need to shed some snow and stay out of the sub zero temps.

From: Bigdan
08-Mar-18
yes most of the deer we lost in the Malta area was due to the -temps for a long time

From: spike78
08-Mar-18
I would avoid the corn and stick to the grain. Corn might kill the deer.

From: LKH
08-Mar-18
I started them slow and they aren't getting more than a pound. Seem to be doing fine. I think the feed pellets help. They are on the concrete apron outside the garage right now.

I seldom shoot a deer on my land and could probably pay for a guided hunt by the time the winter is over but I don't want to leave the kids too much so it's okay.

From: ELKMAN
10-Mar-18
It's going to be a bad one... :-(

From: SBH
10-Mar-18
Buddy watched an old bull die yesterday. You could see where he fell down the hill in the snow. He watched him for an hour, went to work, came back that night and he was dead. Theres about 30 bulls wintering in this spot and half of them don't look good. Really need some sun and warm temps RIGHT NOW. Critical timing. Luckily today is forecast to be almost 50 and its sunny out.

From: LKH
10-Mar-18
Yesterday we had fair warmth and high winds. Bright sun and 35+ today so things are opening up. Still feeding. Some of the cattle pics from north are pretty scary. If we get the warm days forecast we should at least see the tourist snow stop.

From: Ucsdryder
10-Mar-18
Hard to believe when you look at the lack of snow in Colorado. Is the state of Montana doing any feeding programs?

From: LKH
10-Mar-18
Not that I know of and with CWD now being found I doubt they ever will.

From: ELKMAN
11-Mar-18
MT will do NOTHING to keep animals alive, but I can guarantee they are still running their so called "shoulder seasons" (elk genocide) and killing third trimester cows as we speak.

From: Pat Lefemine
11-Mar-18
How much snow do you guys have out there? We had a relatively mild winter, lots of snow, followed by long periods of melting in Northern NY where I own land. So the deer look good here.

From: LKH
11-Mar-18
Pat, records have been set in northern MT, but it's the wind 50-80mph and -0 temps that have been the problem. People unable to get out of their ranches for days at a time. There's a great article by Karl Puckett titled "Cattle Struggling in Brutal Winter". It's in the March 4 issue of the Great Falls Tribune.

We have been unable to get out for 3, 4, and 5 day periods and it isn't even bad here.

From: tradmt
11-Mar-18
2017 in Montana is one for the books. Severe drought, fires and now a brutal winter. Nature's a bitch but it's cyclical and we take the good with the bad.

While I share the same sentiment as ELKMAN about the horse shit shoulder seasons I agree with Montana's stance on not yarding up animals to a CWD buffet. Nature WILL get done what needs to get done no matter what we do and the harder we resist the more of a bitch she becomes.

11-Mar-18
Bad year. Ice on the prairie covered by 2 feet of snow in central areas. Deep drifts, dead deer, antelope and pheasants in some areas.

From: beemann
11-Mar-18

beemann's embedded Photo
beemann's embedded Photo
That sucks. Feel for you guys. My area got hit last year. It wasnt that we had a a lot of snow or super cold temps. What made it bad was a day and a half rain before christmas. It made a crust on top of the snow that you could drive a snowmobile across and not leave tracks. Lost over fifty out of a herd of 200. Easy to get accurate counts when you have to load em up in april. Our Game and Fish still increased tag numbers.

From: Buglmin
11-Mar-18
Damn, sad to see this!! We had to deal with winter kill the past three years in my home town in Colorado. Elk got caught up high by sudden heavy deep snow fall. Mule deer stay in town now and don't leave!! People feed them through the winters now and come spring, they stay in town. Funny to drive up to the folks home and see five huge bucks laying in the shade of the crab apple tree in the summer. Sorry to hear this guys..

From: HUNT MAN
11-Mar-18
The snow is peeling back in Western Montana . Still a lot os snow over East of the divide and higher elevation. Hope spring is just around the corner. Hunt

From: Dooner
11-Mar-18
Sorry to hear this also. Is this the whole state, or mostly Western Montana?

I just heard from Graham Brigden, and he hasn't seen any winter kill in south-east Alberta. He has lots of ground that is not covered with snow.

From: ELKMAN
12-Mar-18
It's the whole state. But the High Line is taking it pretty hard due to the wind and temps.

From: ROUGHCOUNTRY
12-Mar-18

ROUGHCOUNTRY's embedded Photo
ROUGHCOUNTRY's embedded Photo
ROUGHCOUNTRY's embedded Photo
ROUGHCOUNTRY's embedded Photo
I was at a wrestling tourney in Great Falls, MT over the weekend and walked right around town on the Sun River and Missouri River and there were quite a few dead deer. I even walked up on fawn that was basically dead but barely breathing.......nothing physically noticeable other than probably starving to death.

Shed bucks, dead buck and plenty of does. Driving through hwy 200 between Lincoln and Ovando, there was a 3 mile stretch with 14 dead deer and elk. The snow is as deep as I've ever seen it and probably many that were buried and not visible. We saw deer, elk and even moose right along the hwy during broad daylight browsing on anything they could find..........

From: APauls
12-Mar-18
I feel for you guys. We had a set of 3 out of 4 winters where we lost near half our herds each of those winters. Last few have been good. Fingers crossed they keep coming back.

From: sschindler
12-Mar-18
eastern Montana was coming off one of the worst droughts in the states history, and then we got hit with record cold temps many days 30 to 35 below zero and record snowfall, and its got some staying power, still complete snow cover but temps are getting better, we've had 3 days the temp hit 30 above for the high, our worst fear right now is how all this snow will come off. to fast and we will see record flooding again. its getting late enough in the year that it could very well happen. And it will affect wildlife one way or another.

From: LKH
12-Mar-18
Flooding is a real concern. As I noted the ground was froze deep and hard and is not taking water. I've got puddles forming on ground that should be taking the melt. Hopefully the melt will be slow.

From: LKH
14-Mar-18
Minor water issues so far. 3 places with water flowing across the county road. Not a lot and shouldn't be more. Several days of 40's plus wind has opened parts of my fields and the deer seem to be doing better. Not sure how the north is doing but we have forecasts of more snow. Long winter.

15-Mar-18
I guess the positives are reservoirs will be well stocked and grass will get a good start, as far as moisture goes. Plenty of dead deer and game bird reports from around Central Montana. The hay stacks and cattle feeding areas will save many animals. Ranchers and farmers are a big help to game populations during winters such as this.

From: sschindler
15-Mar-18
LIke it or not this type of winter we are having is what makes Montana tick, open winters lead to summer disasters, fire,drought, poor forage for the wildlife as well as livestock, lots of snow cold temps keeps certain wildlife from overpopulation, which we did see after the mild winters of the 80's and good snow runs the creek fills the reservoirs, Nature is cruel sometimes but so far its been working

From: Matte
15-Mar-18

Matte's embedded Photo
Matte's embedded Photo
Sister's haystack gets raided every day. Here is a picture of the regulars.

From: LKH
16-Mar-18
Well, here it's really opened up. Probably 50% open ground. Deer and birds have a lot more options now. Water flowing across the county rd in 3 places. Probably going to flood. Ground was deep frozen and water has no place to go. Another stretch of the county has water flowing down for over 200 yards. Ditches were shallow and filled with way too much snow. Lots of geese and even some sandhills have appeared. Ground squirrels and marmots are out.

From: ELKMAN
17-Mar-18
Where are you? We have Geese and Sand Hills by the thousands right now.

From: LKH
17-Mar-18
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