The calendar has turned to September, and so hunting seasons are underway in Montana.

Education coordinator Vivaca Crowser said archery season began with the start of the Labor Day weekend.

"We're really surrounded now by hunting and fishing seasons, it's that time of year," Crowser said. "We have archery season opening this weekend, that's a big one, we have some bird seasons already underway and some that will open a little bit later as we move into the fall. We have already had some shoulder seasons for elk, and really, it's not too far off that we'll have the general big game opener at the start of November."

Crowser advised anyone interested in taking advantage of the elk shoulder seasons to check with the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website for more details. A link is available here.

Crowser said all hunters are required to have some instruction before heading out into the field.

"We do have our hunter education program that is required for anyone born after January 1st, 1985, and there's just a couple of classes remaining and that's something they may have to do or want to do," she said. "For adults, there's an online hunter ed curriculum that you can go through and that's something that's always handy to do, even though you've already taken the course."

Crowser reminds hunters that even though the calendar may read September, it's still summer in the field.

"We're still facing fire danger, so if you're heading out there, one of the things to avoid are those backcountry campfires," she continued. "You really want to hold off on those until we've had some moisture and the temperatures cool down. Also, you want to be careful how you're driving. Just a little something dragging on your vehicle could spark a fire."

Crowser said hunters are responsible for their own personal safety.

"Make sure you're dressed for the weather," she added. "Have layers so you can adapt to the weather. Make sure you have fire starting materials and know how to use them safely. Have some extra food in case the day gets a little long, and of course, let someone know where you're heading and when you're expected back in case you run into problems out there."

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks reports that the nearly 10 million annual visitors to Montana represent 10 times the state’s resident population and account for about 43,000 jobs, for an economic impact of $2.75 billion annually.