With general rifle hunting season due to start on October 26, even officials at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are having problems getting information about federal public lands, due to the partial government shutdown.

Ron Aasheim, administrator of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Communication and Education Division said on Monday, October 7, that his office is having the same trouble the average citizen is experiencing when attempting to communicate with federal wildlife and forest officials.

"Frankly, we're having some of the same issues you are, trying to get information," Aasheim said. "We've heard a number of things, such as developed sites, like campgrounds, are closed. As far as we know, the public land itself is not closed, but we're getting mixed messages because we don't have anybody to talk to either."

Aasheim said hunting continues on public lands despite the impasse in Washington, D.C.

"The fact is, people are still hunting on public lands in the archery season," Aasheim said. "They're hunting birds on federal lands. We'll do our best to get information out there, but we're just hopeful that before that October 26 big game opener that we've got this sorted out. As far as we know, the opportunity to hunt is still there, it's just whether or not you can camp and use developed sites."

Aasheim said that he is just as frustrated as everyone else.

"We're not the ultimate source," he said. "We can't get any information, either."

Ron Aasheim, Administrator of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Communication and Education Division: