HELENA – Archery season for deer and elk opens Saturday, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to remind hunters to have a safe and successful season.
License drawings have been issued. If you did not get one, surplus drawings are still available.
For general deer or elk license, you can purchase those over-the-counter.
In order to purchase a license, you must take an archery education safety and proficiency course.
Different districts can require different licenses, so hunters are urged to check with a game warden before heading out to a new area.
If you have questions on technology bow-hunting, you can also contact a game warden.
“It’s a great time of year to be out. The archers have worked hard on maintaining an archery-only season, building an archery-only season. It’s a generous opportunity, through six weeks of fall. Great time again to be out. The wildlife is doing some neat things right now," Quentin Kujala, wildlife bureau coordinator for FWP, said.
Hunters should also be careful to prevent wildfires, including avoiding driving vehicles in areas with dry grasses, and to carry water or a fire extinguisher. You are also asked to report any smoke or signs of fire immediately.
FWP officials also want to remind you to be bear aware this season, and make sure you carry bear spray and be alert in the forest:
FWP said in a press release that slow-moving, quiet or game-calling, scented and camouflaged hunters will soon be sharing the landscape with the state’s even stealthier bears that may be stalking similar prey.
Grizzly bears are found throughout the western half of Montana, not just the Rocky Mountain Front, Bob Marshall Wilderness complex and the Yellowstone ecosystem.
The past few years grizzly bears in central Montana have been venturing into country they haven’t been documented in for several decades. This includes the Sweetgrass Hills, Highwood Mountains and Big Belt Mountains. Bears can travel many miles a day in search of food or just looking for new range. That means as their population continues to grow, it is likely their range will continue to expand.
Given the uncertainty of where and when these dispersing bears might show up, hunters should:
- carry bear spray, be prepared and know how to use it
- hunt with a partner and let someone else know your plans
- get harvested big game out of the woods quickly
- upon returning to a site where harvested game is left unattended, study the site at a distance for any movement or changes and signal your approach by making plenty of noise
- never attempt to frighten or haze a bear from a carcass — – contact FWP if a bear has consumed a carcass or covered it with debris rendering it unsalvageable.
FWP notes that grizzly bear attacks are rare and usually happen due to surprise encounters, where the bear is startled, then charges out of fear.