Hunter safety urged amidst busy rescue season - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Hunter safety urged amidst busy rescue season

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KALISPELL - Inclement weather in the forecast has officials are urging extra caution for folks heading into the woods.

Two Bear Air Rescue and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have already seen a high volume of rescue missions involving hunters who were either lost or stranded so far this season.

It's just a couple of week's into the general hunting season and Two Bear Air has already reported over 10 hoist missions. The rescue team had three missions and four hoists within a seven-hour time period on Oct. 26 alone.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 1 Warden Captain Lee Anderson says hunters should start by having a trip fully planned out before leaving.

“They’re going to want to get an itinerary laid out for somebody to know exactly where they’re going to be and when they're supposed to return," Anderson said. "And sometimes it’s even handy if you can just circle it on a map and provide that to them so that they know right away where they need to be looking.”

Anderson added that hunters should also pack enough supplies in the case that they get stranded and need to spend the night.

“Extra food, water, dry clothing and multiple, multiple means to start a fire. The psychological benefits of a fire are almost as important as just the warmth that you are actually going to get from it so be prepared to do that under the conditions that you are stuck in," Anderson advised.

Not only would a fire give you warmth and mental strength, but Two Bear Air rescue director and chief pilot Jim Pierce says it will help the helicopter find you through infrared technology.

“The big one’s for us finding them is a light source and heat source whether it be fires, flashlights, things like that we can see for three, four miles away we can see someone with a fire before we even get there," Pierce said.

Both Two Bear Air Rescue and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks expressed that they hope hunters will take these precautions seriously to ensure a lesser risk while in the woods.

RELATED: Missing Missoula hunters found alive

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