Wyoming Hunters Urged Caution in Beetle-Kill Areas

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The US Forest Service is asking hunters to take extra precautions this upcoming hunting season, especially in areas affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

Beetle kill on some 2.5 million acres of forest brings with it the end result of more falling trees as the root structures die and lose their strength to support the tree.

The U.S. Forest Service offers these guidelines to help hunters and outdoor recreationists avoid risks:

  • * Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees that can fall without warning.
  • * If you are in the forest and winds increase, head to a clearing out of reach of falling trees.
  • * Park your vehicle and put your camp in an area where they will not be hit if a tree falls.
  • * If possible park close to a well used road. If trees fall across the road in the backcountry, you may be trapped. Having an ax or chainsaw along should be basic equipment in the event this does happen.
  • * Don't rely on cell phones for safety since there is no cell coverage in many areas of the National Forests.
  • * And finally, be extra careful with fire as the increased acreages of dead trees increases the fire hazard.

Hunters should also be aware that a number of roads and campgrounds have been closed due to beetle activity and are advised to check the availability with the Forest Service before venturing out.

On a positive note, the Forest Service reports there are many places to hunt and camp on national forest lands. To check the status of campgrounds visit www.fs.fed.us/r2/recreation/camping/campgroundlist or call the local forest service office for information. Reservations for many campgrounds can be made on www.recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777. For information on road closures or beetle mitigation projects in Wyoming visit www.fs.fed.us/r2/bark-beetle/wyoming.html. General information on the mountain pine beetle epidemic can be found at www.fs.fed.us/r2/bark-beetle.