With the recent nice weather following the bitter cold snap we had a couple of weeks ago, people are taking advantage of the temperatures and are getting back on our area's roads and trails.  We caught up with local forester and outdoor recreationalist Jocelyn Dodge who offered some tips on what to do if you encounter wildlife and how to stay safe on your snow machines during these last few weeks of winter.

Watch for Wildlife

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

"When you're outdoors recreating, it's not uncommon to see moose, elk or deer on or near trails," Dodge told us while offering advice on what to do if your paths do, in fact, cross.  "To avoid conflicts, give them plenty of space and avoid any action that causes them to move or alter their activity so that they can conserve energy to survive the winter."

Be Avalanche Aware

man speeding on a snowmobile
Photo: Townsquare Labs/treasurephoto

Changing conditions can increase the danger of getting caught in an avalanche and Dodge says there are steps you need to take and supplies that you should have on hand.  "Be aware and check out avalanche conditions before heading out on your winter adventure," she said, describing the easy process.  "When riding snowmobiles or backcountry skiing, always carry and know how to use a beacon, shovel and probe.  If you're going to ride on steep slopes, get off your sled, 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 information, contact the National Avalanche Center at mtavalanche.com"

For information on recreation opportunites on the Beavehead/Deer Lodge National Forest, please contact the Butte Ranger District at (406) 494-2147.

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