Early hunting season fire safety

It’s hot, it’s dry and wildfire prevention is crucial for all early season hunters in Montana.

“As early season hunters take to the field we are especially concerned about accidental fire starts caused when dry vegetation accumulates in a vehicle’s skid plate or catalytic converter,” said Ron Aasheim, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman in Helena. “Hot temperatures have cured summer’s lush vegetation, increasing the likelihood of grass fires.”

While about 5,000 Montana archery hunters are already able to head afield with their 900 series hunting licenses, Montana’s archery-only hunting season for deer, elk, antelope, black bear, wolf and mountain lion begins Sept. 1. Most upland game birds seasons also open Sept. 1. The bighorn sheep archery season begins Sept. 5.

Hunters driving on roads with drying vegetation along the edges or growing down the middle of a two-track road can cause autumn fire starts and that keeps landowners and managers on edge this time of year.

Hunters should:
• Drive only on established roads.
• Avoid roads with tall vegetation in the middle track.
• Never park over dry grass and other vegetation.
• Carry a fire extinguisher—or water-filled weed sprayer—shovel, axe, and a cell phone for communications in addition to other outdoor safety gear.
• Restrict camping activities to designated camping areas.
• Not build campfires.
• Smoke only inside buildings or vehicles.
Having a personal action plan and being able to respond is essential in the first few seconds of a fire start when it is small and easily extinguished.

For up-to-date details on fire and drought-related restrictions and closures, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Click Drought & Fire.

Coming soon: Montana’s general hunting seasons
Montana’s big game hunting seasons are just around the corner. The general rifle season to hunt black bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose begins Sept. 15. The general hunting season for antelope begins Oct. 6, followed by the general season for wolf Oct. 15 and then deer and elk on Oct. 20.

Most archery hunting seasons begin Sept. 1, for other season dates and details visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website at fwp.mt.gov, then click “Hunting”.