Today is September 1 and is the opening of upland bird season in Montana. In a couple of days on Saturday September 3 the 2011 archery season will get underway. I know a lot of hunters have been preparing for their respective openers by walking in the woods and brush to get in shape.
If you are one of the hunters you have noticed the dry conditions in the backcountry. I had a chance to talk to Matt DeRosier the Sand Creek Field Station Manager in the Charles M Russell Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Montana last Saturday on the Montana Outdoor Radio Show. “The vegetation is very dry over in most of the CMR so we are advising bow hunters to use extreme caution when traveling on the back roads in the area”, he said. Before setting out on a hunt, make sure your vehicles undercarriage and skid plates are free of vegetation or woody debris collected on a previous trip. Driving on roads with drying vegetation along the edges or growing down the middle of a two track road can and does cause autumn fire starts. Avoid going of the road and avoid roads when possible with tall vegetation in the middle. Also avoid parking over dry grass and other vegetation. I highly recommend carrying a fire extinguisher in vehicle. I have also included a vehicle check list of items and services that will help make get your vehicle ready for a safe trip.
-Service your vehicle: Change oil, check antifreeze level, (strength of the antifreeze should be 30 degrees below zero or better), battery fluid levels, transmission-transfer case levels
-Inspect serpentine belt (fan-belt) replace if worn or cracked (save your old one for a spare.
-Inspect your tires and check tire pressure, including your spare tire.
-Tire chains-make sure they fit and are in good condition.
-Two vehicle ramps. (It makes putting tire chains an easier task)
-Flashlight with extra batteries for your map-GPS-compass.
-Tool box (Make sure all your tools are in order)
-Jumper cables or Jump Start Power Pack
-Assorted nuts-bolts-washers-mechanics wire-duct tape-electrical tape-wire ties.
-Extra oil-antifreeze-Automatic Transmission. Fluid-Radiator Stop Leak.
-High lift jack or come-a-long
-Tow straps or tow chains-Heavy Rope.
-Snow shovel, ax-bucket-tarp.
-2×6 that is 1 to 4 feet long (Might help to put under tires if you are high centered)
-Old carpet to lie on if you have to get under your vehicle
-Ice chest with freshwater and food like jerky-dehydrated fruit-energy bars.
-Old sleeping bag-blankets-firewood.
If you get stuck or break down stay with your rig. You are more likely to be found in your rig and with the right emergency supplies you will be safer.
When packing your rig try and put the items you would use only for an emergency in first and the items that you will more than likely use in last.
If you have anything to Add to this VEHICLE CHECKLIST please e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org