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Montana fires/license question
I'm trying to make sense of a worst case scenario in MT for the elk season. I'll admit that I'm catastrophizing a bit here, but I'm just trying to be informed "just in case". My son and I have a general elk tag. The area we hoped to go to is largely burnt up, but we can find another area, so long as there is a season. But, if public land is shut down we won't have a place to go. If forest service roads are shut down, same deal.
So... how will this work as far as how the great state of MT's G&F will handle folks like me? If we plan to go on September 15th and the lands/access to them are closed, will there be a refund? My guess is no, but I'm not sure how that would work. My assumption is that we'd need to return our tags prior to whatever the date is for the 80% refund (BTW, what is that date?) Can someone educate me please? I think there's a good chance I'll be making an almost $2K gamble/decision at some point with this deal...
I REALLY want to take Ryan hunting elk this year. But... if we have nowhere to hunt, I'm not keeping the tags for no good reason. Any help/info would be appreciated.
If I had to bet, I would say you'll be fine for Sept 15th. But I'm not going to bet! As of now, public lands are only closed in the immediate vicinity of active fires, I am not aware of any blanket closures other than private lumber companies. Just don't count on being able to build a camp fire.
It's a big state. Fires are all part hunting season out there, some years worse than others. There will be areas to hunt that aren't closed... Have a backup plan for your backup plan.
Here in CO most of the best non-wilderness elk habitat in National Forest is closed to all access because of the fire last year. Yet CPW gave out the same number of LE tags. Now that we've learned USFS has no plans to reopen any of it for hunting season, it's too late to turn in tags. So me and a couple thousand of my new friends will be jammed into a corner of the unit. Hopefully a lot more adventurers will decide to go into the one wilderness area still partly open (out of four). And that wilderness area already has overflowing parking lots before last year's fire. Otherwise it will be a complete zoo.
Eeesh Jaq, that's no encouraging! That stinks!
We've been getting some good rains on some of these fires. Its' been helping but we're still burning good and most of them will go tell snow falls. I think you'll be fine but you need to call our illustrious FWP and ask them what they will do in that worst case scenario.
Lou -what’s their theory on keeping things closed a year later?
They are doing major logging/mitigation/recovery in some areas. Other areas are prone to mudslides with all this near-daily rain. But in most of it - and we're talking a HUGE area, it is simply to keep Front Range granola munchers from tripping on a roots, seems like. Everyplace I know how to hunt is closed to public use, even walking in from a main road. So I'm going to start from scratch along with 1500 other guys.
They are ticketing people for "trespassing" - in friggin National Forest. I kid you not.
I think you and Ryan will be okay by mid-September.
Prolly Smokey breathing depending on the wind direction but you should still be able to hunt.
What ever ya decide, Enjoy!
Good luck, Robb
Lou- That may be worth the ticket. I'm thinking if they did that here I would just go hunting and deal with the cards that fall when I came out. Just asinine what is going on these days.
worst case: closure of public land access, last time that occurred was in the year 2000 to the best of my knowledge. Keep up to date of forest and BLM closures up until you leave and have other areas picked out as backup spots FWP has minimal to do with public land closures unless it's on FWP owned land, it comes from the Forest Service and BLM in conjunctions with each State's Governor's office.
Here in the Bitterroot NF and most of the other SW Montana forests I dont foresee any forest closures this year. The weather is starting to subtly shift away from the extreme dryness we saw earlier in the summer. Expect fire restrictions until we get a good multi day wetting rain or snow event.
here is the link to block management and private forest closures
Thanks for the link Tom !!!
X2.....thanks for the link.
The last time they did close the forest for the entire bow season they did not give refunds. Kind of seems wrong to me but that's how they did it. Caused a pretty good ruckus I reckon.
Before you decide to just face the trespass ticket consider that hunting while trespassing may make you a poacher. If you take an animal while illegally being on the land they may treat it that way.
There's no "may" to it...