Thousands of hunters across Montana hit the backcountry on the first day of the big game hunting season.

The Bonner check station outside Missoula logged its first successful hunter at 10:30 a.m., only half an hour after opening.

"It has been a pretty typical first opening day," said FWP biologist Scott Eggemen, who was working the station Saturday morning. "It's only been a few hours, and we have already seen 15-20 successful hunters."

State wildlife officials said temperatures were normal for the first day of the season, but some hunters are concerned about predictions of a dry, warmer winter.

"It will just depend on snow," said Eggemen. "Snow may drive some of the elk, and especially bulls down from the higher elevation. We would see less bull harvest if we have a warmer dry hunting season."

Eggemen said it was a successful opening day, and he expects to see at least 100 successful hunters.