Posted: Oct 26, 2013 10:34 PM by Keele Smith - KBZK News
BOZEMAN - If you noticed people decked out in bright orange on Saturday, it's not because Halloween is right around the corner. Saturday was the day that kicked off Elk and deer hunting in Montana.
FWP officials talked to MTN News about how hunters can stay safe outside once the season really picks up.
Andrea Jones works at the FWP office in Bozeman, where lots of hunters are renewing their licenses for the season.
With a big storm expected on Monday, she says the key to staying alive, is staying warm - which means wearing sweat-wicking material like wool and avoiding cotton.
Jones also says it's a good idea to plan for the worst.
"The most important things for staying safe out in the field in terms of the elements are making sure you have a survival kit that includes fire-starting materials and that you know how to use it and that it's accessible," she said.
Check stations are set up for data collection purposes. While officials are willing to give advice, they say most people are well aware of the rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions associated with Elk hunting in this part of the country.
FWP Wildlife Biologist Claire Gower says, "Generally, these are really a group of people that know these conditions and they certainly can go out there prepared on their own."
Their experience is showing at sporting goods shops, where hunters are stocking up on whatever they might need to face the cold.
Michael Roland at Bob Ward's Sporting Goods says, "Everybody's buying long underwear, under armour, wool socks, thicker boots. But the storm just means there are going to be more animals moving around."
And that means, "Blaze orange is a must," Roland says. "You have to wear 400 square inches of blaze orange, so vests, jackets, hats."
Hunters might seem most vulnerable out in the field, but FWP sees more accidents around vehicles.
Jones says, "Always slow down, make sure you take the bullets out of your rifle and watch what is happening around you."