HELENA — If you are anything like me, hunting consumes most of your thoughts, and you’re counting down the hours until you can get out for general firearm season this weekend.
But with another blast of winter in the forecast, this season it’s even more important to plan ahead.
“This time around they (hunters) need to make sure they’re prepared for the snowy roads," public information officer with Fish Wildlife and Parks, Greg Lemon said. "Bring a shovel, bring some tire chains if you got them. Dress warm, bring hand warmers, you know that sort of thing.”
It’s also not a bad idea to bring a little patience. Because even in our big state, you’ll probably see some other boot tracks in the woods.
“We’ve sold more hunting licenses than we did last year," said Lemon. "We expect there to be more hunters in the woods, so it’s a good reminder to be neighborly, be friendly, be ethical, courteous, wear your hunter’s orange and realize that everybody’s out there just like you are to enjoy the great outdoors in Montana."
Other humans aren’t the only thing you’ll have to try and avoid this weekend. Because even with all this snow, it’s important to remember it isn’t winter just yet.
“People need to still be bear aware," Lemon told MTN. "This isn’t, we’re not in hibernation season yet and typically most of hunting season is still a time when bears are active.”
That means tell someone where you are going, pay close attention to your surroundings, and if you harvest an animal, be careful when processing it in the field.
Also, cutting frozen meat could lead to accidentally cutting yourself. So, with the below freezing temperatures were expecting, try and do as much quartering as you can while the animal is still warm. Especially if it will take more than one trip to pack out.
The most important thing to remember though is enjoy the season while you can
“We’re out there to take part in that great pastime and passion," said Lemon. "It’s just a wonderful time of the year.”
Make sure to double check FWP regulations before heading out. Make sure you have your license.
And remember CWD is still an issue. Make sure to check with Fish, Wildlife and Parks about any changes to CWD reporting procedures because of COVID-19.
Good luck, be safe and stay away from me this weekend.