Hunting fever starts early. It might be a few midnight dreams, or maybe you find yourself scrolling through the Cabela’s website after dinner instead of paying bills.

Pretty soon you’re thinking about hunting most of the day. Mentally going over maps instead of work-related powerpoints, pushing yourself out of bed for an early workout, not because it’s good for you, but because you need to get into hunting shape.

A key part of your hunting season preparation should be researching animal population trends and data from the past year. That’s where we step in to help. The following big game forecast will give you some very valuable information for planning your hunt. But it’s only a small piece of what Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks offers Montana hunters.

On our website you can find information about hunting access, including our very popular Block Management Program, where we coordinate with landowners to provide hunting access to more than 7 million acres of private land.

Online we have our interactive Hunt Planner map that allows users to look at information for various species, including hunting districts and regulations. The hunt planner interactive map also is a great way to access our block management information, so if you’re planning a hunt in a certain area, you can see if there are Block Management Areas available to expand your opportunity.

And, as always, you can contact our helpful staff at any of our regional offices around the state. They’re happy to help and can often get you pointed in the right direction with just a few simple tips.

Montana is really an amazing state in which to hunt. We have some of the longest hunting seasons in the West, healthy herds of game and access to millions of acres of public land. However, hunters must be mindful of drought and fire danger. With the severe to exceptional drought extending across much of the state, hunters should be mindful of private landowners who are facing grass shortages, poor crop production and fatigue from monitoring for fire. Hunter harvest is helpful during a drought to reduce wildlife densities on a stressed landscape, and perhaps to help lessen winter depredation on hay stacks or winter range. 

A few things hunters can do to show respect for private landowners during the drought include: avoid vehicle use in areas with dry grass in the median, use caution when parking in areas with dry vegetation, report smoke or any signs of fire to local officials, and carry a fire extinguisher or water to quickly snuff any potential fires.

Source: FWP

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