With archery season winding down and the general rifle season on the way, Bitterroot National Forest Public Information Officer Tod McKay offers some important common sense safety tips for those visiting the forest.

“The first thing we want to remind people about is that requirement that during general rifle season you must wear hunter orange,” said McKay. “That includes a hat, a cap, a vest or jacket, anything above the waist. This is not only a good idea for hunters but also non hunters that are visiting the forest this time of year. And you might also want to consider putting an orange vest or bright bandana, on your pets, dogs, horses, or anything else that will be out in the woods with you this time of year.”

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Many will want to establish a hunting camp in the Bitterroot National Forest, and McKay offers these guidelines.

“Campers and hunters can only camp for 16 days in one location,” he said. “In addition that your new camps must be located five air miles from previous camp, and also that shooting and hunting is prohibited in all developed recreation sites on the forest and trail heads and that includes Lake Como and the Bass Creek recreation area.”

McKay said hunters must be courteous and responsible with their game, and especially be ‘bear aware’.

“Keep in mind that there may be bears in the area and that they store their food properly,” he said. “Also, carcasses should not be closer than 100 yards from your sleeping area. And speaking of carcasses and dumping carcasses, that's an issue that we continue to deal with on the Bitterroot National Forest. This is just a reminder that dumping carcasses on all public lands is illegal, unethical, and can spread diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease.”

And, before you head out, McKay has a list of necessary items to bring along.

“Those include things like a forest map, a compass, a flashlight, extra food and water, extra clothing, sunglasses, a first aid kit, of course a pocket knife, waterproof matches and firestarter,” he said. “It's getting cold. The other thing is just because it is cold in the morning, it doesn't mean that fires can’t spread quickly, so please never walk away from a smoldering campfire and always make sure that that fire is dead out before you leave.”

Click here for more important information from the Bitterroot National Forest.


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