The Labor Day weekend brings the opening of archery season in Montana, however, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has a cautionary note to those headed to the high country: beware of sudden winter weather.

Education and Program Manager for FWP District 2 Vivaca Crowser has details.

“Archery season opens on Saturday and it looks like it's going to be a typical weather start and even through Sunday with warm temperatures,” said Crowser. “But then looking at the forecast for Sunday night into Monday, there’s a huge change, and so just want to make sure as you're preparing to head out, especially if you're going to be out there for a couple of days, to make sure you have all the right gear with you so you don't get caught off guard in this weather event, especially in higher elevation.”

You want to have layers in terms of clothing. Something that has extra layers to keep you protected from that that wind and the wet weather.

Crowser’s advice? Like the Boy Scouts, be prepared.

“Anytime you're looking at a forecast like that, especially in the early season, it's a good time to get out are all your gear and make sure you didn't leave something behind,” she said. “So you want to have layers in terms of clothing. Something that has extra layers to keep you protected from that that wind and the wet weather. Then also make sure you have something that you can make a shelter with. Even if you're not planning to spend the night sometimes things happen and you get stuck out there or maybe it's just cold and windy enough that you need a spot to warm up during the day, so make sure you have something to start a fire if needed, and then of course extra food and water in case you spend a little extra time out there.”

Crowser also has advice for boaters, especially on area lakes.

“If you're heading out to a lake this weekend, you might have a warm start but be prepared for wind,” she said. “And, boy, sometimes those winds can blow up when you're far from shore, so watch that forecast; really look at that hourly forecast and stay close to shore so that you can get in if you need to, because it does look like even on some of our smaller lakes, those big winds can get you into trouble so be careful out there.”

Crowser said in addition to the weather, there’s something else for hunters to be aware of; bears.

“For anyone who's out and about with, especially the archery hunters, and if you're going out for a hike or anything, we have sure had a lot of bear activity lately, especially up the Blackfoot,” she said. “So it's really a good time to refresh your safety skills, have your bear spray with you and just be extra aware. We want everybody to be ‘bear aware’ and safe.”

The National Weather Service is calling for an arctic front to blow into western Montana starting Sunday night into Monday with drastically lower temperatures, high mountain snow and strong winds.

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