General deer and elk hunting season begins officially at sunrise on Saturday, October 26 and closes at sunset on December 1.

Information and Program Manager for Fish, Wildlife and Parks District One, Dylan Tabish provides some common sense tips for a successful hunt.

First, make sure you are properly licensed to hunt in your district.

“First, make sure you have the proper hunting licenses,” said Tabish. “If you’re hunting for deer then you have to make sure you have a deer tag. There’s the over-the-counter tag you can purchase. Then you need to make sure of where you’ll be hunting because certain hunting districts have specific regulations.”

Tabish said to check the FWP website for specific instructions on local hunting districts.

Tabish also reminds hunters to obtain permission before hunting on private land.

“We want to be responsible hunters, so if that landowner does want to allow hunting, we want to make sure we’re not doing anything to discourage them from allowing it in the future,” he said. “We have the block management program which makes millions of acres available to hunters, and we want to make sure that these lands remain open for generations to come.”

When it comes to safety, Tabish reflected back to the original hunter’s safety courses that most Montanans took when they were children.

“We have the four tenants of hunter education,” he said. “Never put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Always be sure of your shot and beyond. Always treat every gun as if it were loaded and never just assume that it’s unloaded, and never travel with a loaded firearm. Perhaps the most important safety tip is always point your muzzle in a safe direction. Even if it’s a toy gun, your muscle memory should tell you to never point the muzzle of a firearm towards anybody, you always point that muzzle in a safe direction.”

Finally, after the hunt is over, Tabish said that each vehicle is required to stop at an FWP check station.

“Anytime a hunter encounters a check station, even if you didn’t have luck that day, you need to stop,” he said. “That’s really important for our biologists. They’ll talk to the hunters, they inspect animals that were harvested, they’ll collect a tooth for aging data, and it’s a good way to stay in touch with hunters. It doesn’t take long, just a few minutes, but it’s very important to stop at every check station.”

Get more hunting tips and information on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website.