Last weekend marks the beginning of the general big game hunting season in Montana.

The general deer and elk season is Oct. 26-Dec. 1.

Here are a few reminders for hunters:

• Don’t forget your regulations and maps. Take advantage of our online hunt planner at https://myfwp.mt.gov/fwpPub/planahunt.

• Hunters should check their licenses in advance, and anyone with faded licenses can have them replaced at no cost at their regional FWP office. After Oct. 24, the cost will be $5 for each license replaced at a license provider. However, FWP will reimburse the cost to hunters and anglers who mail in a receipt to FWP Licensing, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620. Another option for replacing your license is to go to fwp.mt.gov, login to MyFWP and request a digital version of your license to print at home or download to a smart phone. Digital licenses are good for everything but a carcass tag.

• Be Bear Aware. Hunters should always have bear spray on them and in a place they can easily access it. Hunting in pairs or a group is also recommended to help fend off a bear during an attack. Bears are very active this time of the year as they enter hyperphagia-- the time when they continuously eat to prepare for hibernation.

• If you are hunting in a CWD Management Zone remember the parts that can and cannot be removed from the management zone.

Carcass parts that CANNOT be removed from a CWD Management Zone: whole carcass, whole head, brain, spinal column

– Animal parts that CAN be removed from a CWD Management Zone include: Meat cut and wrapped or separated from the bone, Hides with no heads attached, Quarters or parts with no spine or head attached, Skull plates, antlers, or skulls with no tissue

Animals harvested inside a CWD Management Zone can be taken to a CWD sampling check station to be sampled.

This year FWP is paying for the testing of CWD samples from 

hunter-harvested deer, elk and moose anywhere in the state regardless of whether they are in a management zone or sampling area. If these animals come from outside designated sampling areas, hunters can either take the samples themselves, fill out the information sheet found online and mail them to our lab in Bozeman or bring the animal (or head) to a regional office for sampling. A video on the FWP website shows detailed instructions on how to remove lymph nodes, and more information is available about testing.

If you have information about a possible wildlife or state lands crime, please call our toll-free TIP-MONT Hotline at 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668).