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Five tips Montana game wardens want to give you, before you hunt

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Game Warden Justin Hawkaluk

Sgt. Justin Hawkaluk answers property boundary questions with a couple of mule deer hunters before they set out for their morning hunt.

Here are five things Montana's game wardens would like to tell every hunter before their trip begins. Thanks go to Warden Sgt. Justin Hawkaluk for this information.

1. Have a plan. Know where you're going — specifically — and what you're hunting for, and all applicable regulations. Whether a violation is intentional or unintentional, it's still a violation. Inadvertent violations usually stem from a lack of preparedness.

2. Let somebody know your plan — particularly where you'll be and when you expect to return. For obvious reasons.

3. Make sure you have legal access. If you're hunting on private land, that means making sure you have up-to-date permission. Hunting without landowner permission is the ticket wardens write more frequently than any other.

4. Don't dump carcasses illegally. Here's the word, straight from Page 4 of the 2021 hunting regulations: There are three very important reasons not to dump a game carcass: 1. It can spread chronic wasting disease. Any part of the carcass of an animal with CWD can transmit the disease for at least two years. 2. It's illegal. Montana State Law prohibits dumping dead animals or refuse on public property, including all state-owned and managed lands, which includes FWP managed fishing access sites and wildlife management areas. If you are caught, you risk a fine and losing hunting and fishing privileges for a year. 3. Its unsightly. A dumped carcass reflects poorly on the hunting community.

Carcass disposal guidelines

To prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, all parts of the head or skull containing brain material and/or the spinal columns of deer, elk, and moose harvested in Montana must be left in the field at the kill site or, if transported for further processing including taxidermy or meat processing, must be disposed of in a class II landfill.

5. Remember it's been a hot, dry summer. That's not only changed hunting conditions and where animals might be — it's also affected access. Some landowners may not grant the access they have in the past (including block management) because of concerns over fire.

Game Warden Justin Hawkaluk

Hawkaluk checks the tag of a whitetail deer that a hunter shot in the Elkhorn Mountains.

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