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Western Montana Hunters Should Check Fire Restrictions and Closures, Beware of Extreme Conditions

Hunting - Region 2

Wed Aug 30 16:43:05 MDT 2017

Hunters in western Montana should be aware of local fire restrictions and closures and take safety precautions. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) says hunting seasons will open as planned, but some areas have wildfire-related closures that affect hunter access and travel. Fire danger remains extreme region-wide, so hunters should use extra caution.

Montana’s upland game bird season opens this Friday, Sept. 1, and the general deer, elk and antelope archery-only season begins Sept. 2.

Every active fire in FWP Region 2 (west-central Montana) has associated land and/or road closures, which means that some US Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, trails and roads will be off-limits to hunters.  Closures are dynamic, so check InciWeb online at inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/27/ for the current fire closures and maps. Or, call the FWP Region 2 office at 406-542-5500, or USFS or BLM office that manages the land where you plan to hunt. 

All FWP Region 2 lands (wildlife management areas, state parks, fishing access sites) are open as of August 30, but hunters should check updates on  fire-related restrictions and closures on FWP properties online at: fwp.mt.gov/news/restrictions.

There are some private lands enrolled as FWP Block Management Areas (BMAs) that are closed due to fire danger and activity. For the most up-to-date information on BMA closures,  check the FWP web site at fwp.mt.gov, and click “hunting” and then “block management.”

Most places in western Montana are under Stage II fire restrictions, which prohibit all campfires and charcoal and welding, explosives, driving off established roads and use of internal-combustion engines from 1pm to 1am. Cooking is allowed on propane devices that can be shut off.   For the latest information on fire restrictions, go online to firerestrictions.us/mt.

Multiple fires are burning across Montana, and extreme fire danger will likely persist into late September. Hunters must do their part to prevent wildfires and to keep themselves safe by following these fire safety precautions:

  • Park your vehicle on bare ground or ground completely void of tall grass.
  • Drive only on established roads.
  • After you leave an area, wait for few minutes to make sure that a fire has not started where your vehicle was parked.
  • Bring along a fire extinguisher or water-filled weed sprayer, shovel or axe.
  • Camp only in designated camping areas.
  • Smoke only inside buildings or vehicles.
  • Check on any fire restrictions in place in the area where you are hunting.
  • Consider limiting activity until fire danger lessens.