The cold weather may be hanging around, but that is no reason for that to keep you from enjoying the many recreation opportunities Southwest Montana has to offer even in the winter season.  Whether you're snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or even taking the sleds out in the hills, there are some steps you should be taking to ensure your safety.

Bull elk bugling during fall mating season in the Colorado Rocky Mountains
Photo: WestwindPhoto/Getty Stock/Townsquare Labs

Jocelyn Dodge is an expert in Southwest Montana's forests and trails and tells us that there are things you can expect to find this time of year and steps you can take should you come across them.  "It's not uncommon to find moose, elk or deer while recreating," Dodge told us.  How do you avoid conflicts with wild animals should you encounter them?   "Give them plenty of space and avoid any action that causes them to move or alter their activity so they can conserve energy to survive the winter," she said.

Avalanche sign
Photo: Townsquare Labs

This time of year, avalanche danger is something every outdoorsman needs to be aware of.  "Be aware and check avalanche conditions before heading out on your winter adventure," Dodge instructed, adding, "always carry, and know how to use a beacon, shovel and a probe.  If you're going to ride on steep slopes, get off your sled and dig a pit to the ground to look for weak, sugary snow and if found make sure to stay off the steep slopes for your safety."

For more avalanche information, Dodge advises and for other information on recreation opportunities on the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest, please call the Butte Ranger District at (406) 494-2147.

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