Test Your Hunting Abilities
Montana seems as though it was made for being outdoors. There is such a range of environments that people can enjoy. And as the fall approaches, it seems that Montana was made just for hunting. There are miles and miles of wilderness and backcountry to explore. And throughout these areas you are almost certain to stumble upon deer or elk.
Anyone who has driven anywhere in Montana knows that there are deer all over the place. They jump out in front of you when you least expect it, and almost never cross at those deer crossing signs. With no shortage of these animals, it is no wonder that deer hunting is a huge part of the Montana culture. What many people do not understand is that hunting the deer actually makes the herds healthier and more virulent. Without hunting to help control the deer population, the herds would become oversized and more prone to disease and injury.
Of course the best way to learn how to hunt is to go with someone that has done it before. In fact, learning by what you read about the sport is nearly impossible. If you are under 18 you will need to take a hunter’s safety class before you are able to get a license, if you have not yet taken the class get in touch with Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to find out when the next class will be offered. Before you get out there and try shooting a deer, head up to the shooting range to make sure your aim is accurate, and while out there be sure to know and understand your equipment.
One of the biggest reasons people get in trouble while hunting is they fail to bring the proper clothing along with them. The weather can change quickly and is very unpredictable. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Most importantly, though, is to make sure you have at least 400 square inches of hunter orange visible above the waist. When walking through the woods it is hard to tell if you are a deer or a person. So unless you want to get shot, orange is the way to go (also, if you are out hiking at this time of year, wear some orange too just to be safe).
One of the biggest problems with hunting is finding just the right place to go where you will not run into too much competition. If you really want to get away from everyone, head deep into the wilderness. Unfortunately, this also means pulling a deer out the entire way you hiked in. If you want something a little closer to the road, check out the maps online that show public and private lands. There are even maps that show Block Land Management areas where anyone can hunt (just be sure to sign in at the box). If you know a rancher, give him or her a call and see if you can hunt on their land. Often, later in the hunting season, the deer move to these private lands where they feel safer.
There is a certain joy that comes with hunting and harvesting an animal. You can butcher it yourself, or take it in somewhere to have it done professionally. Any way you do it, you will be happy knowing that you are helping to nourish yourself (and your family) with healthy meat that you collected. If you have never hunted, the season opens tomorrow. Get out there and try your hand at deer hunting.
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