It’s time to start sighting in your rifle, booking your pack trip, and gearing up for the omnipotent opening weekend of rifle season. Archery season is in full swing and the cold temps lately might get things moving around a bit in the hills. The past few fall seasons have proved to be unusually warm, making for difficult hunts, so let’s hope mother nature cooperates this year and brings some cooler temperatures. There is ample vegetation and ground cover providing a lot of food for animals in the wild. Find the food…… Find the elk!
If you haven’t started thinking about hunting season yet, here’s a few tips so that you can hit the ground running.
-Make sure to get your license(s) for your appropriate hunts. Sorry, most of the special hunting permits have been issued, but there are still some openings for Antelope in the 700 district. Licences are available in downtown Bozeman at the Powderhorn, and in downtown Livingston at Yellowstone Gateway Sports.
-Check the regulations in the regions and districts you’ll be hunting in. Visit http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/regulations.html to download the Hunting Regulations pamphlet or pick one up at your local shop.
–Sight in your rifle. Making sure to have an accurate shot will be the difference between success or failure. Go practice. Shoot as much as you can. Get your groups as tight as possible, so you know exactly where you are taking the shot. A box or two of ammunition, a piece of plywood with a couple sheets of paper and a marker should do the trick. Take a few shots, go check the bulls-eye making sure to mark the shots you’ve taken and repeat until you are happy with the results. Bring some earplugs!
-Get your gear dialed. Being comfortable in the mountains is the key to a successful trip in the backcountry. Make sure you have enough clothing but try to keep it to a minimum so as to not overload yourself on a long day hiking at elevation. Some hunters carry very little on a day hunt from camp, while others have enough to make a quick bivy if need be. A medium sized pack is a good idea if you will be hunting any distance from camp so as to save you a trip back to camp if you bag one! Find out what works for you and stick with it. Having a well organized system is critical in ensuring an enjoyable time in the mountains.