Hunters who have seen enough Madagascar hissing cockroaches and extreme makeovers on TV have a new place to go evenings—the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks hunting web pages.
Go to www.fwp.state.mt.us and click on Hunting, http://www.fwp.state.mt.us/hunting/default.aspx to enter a quiet backwater where hunters can read about this year’s hunting opportunities, how Montana’s elk, mule deer and antelope populations are doing and what the new regulations say.
Watch for the custom Hunting Guides http://www.fwp.state.mt.us/hunting/deerguide.aspx . With one click you land on a page with season dates, regulations and information related to your species of choice, including deer, elk, antelope, black bear and upland game birds.
Or, check out past harvests in the state by clicking on the Harvest Reports http://www.fwp.state.mt.us/hunting/harvest_reports.asp listed under Hot Topics. You can find out how many elk were harvested in Montana in 2002, or bore down to find how many elk were harvested in the district you hunted.
If you have time and enjoy maps, the Interactive Hunt Planner http://www.fwp.state.mt.us/hunting/plan/chooseRegion.asp is for you. On this page you can select a species, for example, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep. Next, you choose the area of Montana you’re interested in hunting.
The map that appears on screen can be viewed as a state road map, a topographic map or a land ownership map. If you turn on the “distribution” feature for the species you selected and then click on the map, the distribution appears as cross hatches on the map. You can also see hunting district boundaries and numbers.
For real night owls, there is the new Montana Field Guide, http://www.fwp.state.mt.us/fieldguide/default.aspx under Hot Topics on the Hunting page. You can learn about mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. This Internet field guide offers species descriptions, photos, distribution maps and in some cases, if you have sound on your computer, you can even listen to the critter’s call. Check out the photo of mountain goat kids scrambling over a granite wall.
Finally, click on the Montana Outdoors Magazine icon http://fwp.state.mt.us/mtoutdoors/ to renew your subscription for next year.
By now it’s time to let the dog out one last time and head for bed. Best of all you won’t be dreaming of cockroaches, but of that ridge in your favorite hunting district where you’ve always had good luck stalking elk.
The FWP Hunting web pages are waiting for you to explore. Let us know what you think of the Hunting web pages by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.