Hunting season has already begun in Montana, but it’s never too late to get the most accurate information to stay safe in the field.

We spoke to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks District Two Education and Program Manager Vivaca Crowser about planning and carrying out a successful hunt.

“One thing is just to make sure that you do start planning for where you're going to go,” began Crowser. “That can sometimes take quite a bit of time and research. We've got online tools on the Fish, Wildlife and Parks website to help with that, and then of course remembering that if any private lands are in your hunting plans to make sure that as early as you can you go ahead and secure that permission, that you must have that one way or another.”

Crowser said all hunters will have to be extra ‘bear aware’ this season.

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“Now more than ever, you know, we have bears in more places and more grizzly bears in more places, too,” she said. “So it's really important to know how to identify the bears; to warn the bears of your presence, have your bear spray nearby and know how to use it and just be on the alert knowing that that running into a bear across the state really is a possibility just about anywhere.”

Crowser said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has tweaked some of the hunting regulations this season, so it is up to each hunter to make themselves aware of any changes.

“Every other year, we take a real hard look at those regulations and we have made some changes,” she said. “So the big thing to do there is just to make sure you take a close look at the regulations and the place that you're planning to go because something could have changed. I know around here in western Montana, if you're hunting close to home that there were some hunting district boundary changes. That's kind of an unusual change, not something that happens every other year, so make sure you pay particular attention to that, because of course along with those boundary changes, what you can hunt in those places may have changed as well.”

With so many new residents in Montana who may never have hunted, or at least hunted in Montana, Crowser said there are many resources online where the best information can be found.

“There are a lot of good resources around, not just with Fish, Wildlife and Parks, but other organizations in town that will provide some mentorship for folks that are getting into hunting or maybe getting into hunting in Montana for the first time,” she said. “We can certainly help with that and try to do some clinics. I don't know if we will do one this fall, but sometimes we'll do for example, a field dressing clinic for those that have never hunted before and need some of those types of skills. But there are lots of organizations that can help, so keep an eye out for that stuff, and stop by our office or give us a call and we'll do what we can to help get you started.”

Call Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Missoula at 406-542-5500.

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