Hunt Kind

Big Game Hunting

Sharing our love for public lands this fall.

Living in Montana, we are lucky to have a tremendous amount of public-land access and vast, beautiful places in which to recreate. Many of our trails allow for multiple uses—hiking, running, mountain biking, horseback riding, and motorized pursuits. Hunting season brings out a new group of users, and you may encounter ATVs or big-game and bird hunters on foot. Many people are often puzzled or even fearful when they encounter hunters on a trail. We encourage you to say howdy and ask how the hunt went, or what they are hunting for. Whether you're a hunter or a hiker, a little kindness goes a long way to making a better experience for everyone, and may help ease apprehensions. If you're a hunter, and you find favorite hunting area is already occupied by another group, be prepared to take a new path and explore new ground—who knows, it could prove bountiful.

All recreational trail-goers have responsibilities to pick up trash and poop, leave no trace, and generally leave things better than they found them. We also have a responsibility to each other and the resource. Hunters also hike, ride bikes, and fish, and most of us share the same values. Hunters, you are ambassadors for hunting and voices to help others understand the culture and importance of hunting for our wildlife management, and to put healthy food on the table.

    Grouse Hunting Corbly Gulch

    Here are some tips to keep in mind when sharing public trails this fall:

    • Be respectful of all trail users. Our trails were meant to be shared and enjoyed. Say hello and spread kindness.
    • Be aware of others and how you interact. Hunters should be aware that people unfamiliar with hunting may be uncomfortable in the presence of bows and guns. Keep the chamber of your shotgun or rifle open and empty, and pointed in a safe direction, when encountering other trail users.
    • Know the rules and regulations for the trail you are using and what other users you might encounter so you are not surprised.
    • Wear bright colors and keep your pets under control. 
    • Stay on the trail. Don’t wander off into the forest where you know hunters may be looking for grouse or elk. This also reduces the impact of users creating new paths and spreading noxious weeds.
    • Say howdy. Ask how the hunt went, or what they're looking for. Hunters, ask how the hike or ride is going and what they are seeing.
    • Offer help with packing out an animal. Or offer to help with a flat bike tire. You might learn something and even make a new friend.
    • Have a State Land Recreation Use Permit when using State Trust Lands. These properties are managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). Hunters, anglers, and trappers purchase a Montana Conservation License with their hunting or fishing license, which includes legal access to state lands. Other recreational activities such as hiking, skiing, and horseback riding require the purchase of a State Land Recreation Use License, which supports our public education and our land and water resources.
    • Give back by volunteering or donating to a local nonprofit that provides opportunities for you to enjoy our wild places. Everyone gets outside for a different reason—be it to stay fit, revel in open spaces, hunt and fish, enjoy wildlife, or be part of a wild landscape. And we all have a responsibility to take care of these resources.
    • Be Outside Kind. This project by One Montana encompasses partnerships nonprofits, businesses, and agencies taking the lead on spreading recreational ethics that are important for all of us. Hunt Kind is an opportunity to help all hunters understand how their behavior impacts others, and learn how to be better stewards for the tradition and future of hunting.