Hunters advised to use caution in beetle-kill areas
by Wyoming Game & Fish
September 20, 2010
Hunters are asked to take extra precautions this upcoming hunting season, especially in areas affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
Beetle kill on some 2.5 million acres of forest brings with it the end result of more falling trees as the root structures die and lose their strength to support the tree.
The U.S. Forest Service offers these guidelines to help hunters and outdoor recreationists avoid risks:
* Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees that can fall without warning.
* If you are in the forest and winds increase, head to a clearing out of reach of falling trees.
* Park your vehicle and put your camp in an area where they will not be hit if a tree falls.
* If possible park close to a well-used road. If trees fall across the road in the backcountry, you may be trapped. Having an ax or chainsaw along should be basic equipment in the event this does happen.
* Donít rely on cell phones for safety since there is no cell coverage in many areas of the National Forests.
* And finally, be extra careful with fire as the increased acreages of dead trees add to the fire hazard.
Hunters should also be aware that a number of roads and campgrounds have been closed due to beetle activity and are advised to check accessibility with local forest service offices.
On a positive note, the Forest Service reports there are many places to hunt and camp on national forest lands. To check on campgrounds on the Bridger-Teton National Forest go to http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf/, or call the local forest service office for information (Pinedale 307-367-4326, Big Piney 307-276-5800). For information on road closures or beetle mitigation projects in Wyoming visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/bark-beetle/wyoming.html.