Hunters are making stops at check stations all around Montana to ensure safe and proper hunting. The check station in Augusta is one of - if not the - oldest check station in the state. It is in what officials estimate to be its 90th season.
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Records go back to 1932 at the Augusta station, but it's possible they go before that, leaving a lot of history in one little shack on the edge of town.
"I tend to kind of take a lot of ownership of it and as far as, you know, a lot of pride and value of what check stations are and what they've historically been for Montana,” FWP wildlife biologist Brent Lonner said. “We've had well over 200,000 people that have come through this check station over the years. That's just what we have in the database. So there's probably more than that. And then we've checked over 32,000 animals to this check station, too."
This hunting season has gotten off to a slow start for the Augusta station, partly due to mild weather making hunting more difficult, according to Lonner. A lower number of hunters means a lower harvest count, he said, adding they likely won't meet their average of 800 to 1000 animals check this year. They’ve checked 166 animals as of November 5.
He explained, "This year's been quite a bit slower. We thought last year was slow mostly due to weather related things. Our hunter numbers are down. We've got fewer hunters that have been out so far this year. That’s another big capacity of what we do is just having that general on the ground presence for hunters for them to ask questions and to have us as a general pool of knowledge. It's really these check stations for me in Montana are really one of the main times of year during hunting we can actually have those face-to-face conversations with hunters."
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