Tips and reminders for the season.
by Marna Daley
With general rifle season approaching, the U.S. Forest Service hopes you have a good hunt and offers some tips and reminders in order to protect your natural resources and make your visit more enjoyable.
Pick Up a Motor Vehicle Use Map
Motorized Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) outline designated road and trail systems and are free at any of the Custer-Gallatin Forest ranger district offices or online at fs.usda.gov/gallatin or fs.fed.us/r1/custer. Remember: if there is no numbered route marker, the road or trail is closed. In addition, there are a few roads and trail closures that go into effect during the spring and fall seasons, so check the MVUM or call your local ranger district office before heading out.
Remember that Montana state law requires drivers and vehicles to be licensed and “street legal” when on numbered Forest Service roads. Off-highway vehicles on Forest Service trails must have a state “OHV sticker” and anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), or utility-terrain vehicle (UTV). Seatbelts must be worn while riding in a UTV.
Drones and Game Cameras
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones for hunting are prohibited on National Forest lands. Game cameras are not allowed during the hunting season, per Montana law.
Food storage requirements are in place for the Beartooth, Yellowstone, Gardiner, Bozeman, and Hebgen Lake ranger districts. All attractants must be 1) stored in a closed, solid-sided vehicle or horse trailer, 2) placed in bear-resistant containers certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), or 3) hung 10 feet off the ground and four feet out from any tree or support pole. You must hang or store your animal carcass just like other items that can attract bears: between 100 yards and one-half mile from your camp. You can leave a carcass on the ground if it’s at least one-half mile from camping areas and at least 200 yards from a trail. Storing carcasses in a hard-sided horse trailer 100 yards away is okay, too.
Remember to remove tree stands and any equipment or caches when you leave.
Ensure you’re bringing only certified weed-free feed onto public lands. To qualify, hay bales must be tagged. Wash your vehicles thoroughly before you head off on your hunting trip.
Finally, in Montana, you can report any violations you may see to 800-TIP-MONT.