Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By News release
Montana FWP 

Be bear aware when recreating outdoors

 

Roger Dey

A black bear that found his way into Lincoln 2016 hangs out int tree

Grizzly bears are out and about. In the last two weeks, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks captured four grizzly bears in western Montana that were causing conflicts.

Grizzlies can be found throughout western Montana, not just the Rocky Mountain Front, Bob

Marshall Wilderness and the Yellowstone Ecosystem. In recent years grizzly bear populations

have expanded and bears are showing up in places they've not been for decades.

After a long winter, humans and wildlife are active in the outdoors, and with the heavy snowpack still receding in much of the state, humans and wildlife are sharing the same space. Whether you're heading outdoors to hunt turkey, black bear, shed antlers or mushrooms, please be bear aware.

Here are some general tips to stay safe in bear country:

Inquire about recent bear activity in the area.

Carry and know how to use bear pepper spray for emergencies.

Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

Travel in groups of three or more people whenever possible and plan to be out in the daylight hours.

Stay on trails or rural roads.

Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.

Keep children close.

Make your presence known by talking, singing, carrying a bell, or other means, especially when near streams or in thick forest where visibility is low. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present.

Use caution in areas like berry patches where bears occur.

Don't approach a bear; respect their space and move off.

If you are camping in bear country, follow these guidelines:

Camp away from trails and areas where you see grizzly signs.

Keep a clean camp at all times. Keep tents and sleeping bags free of odors.

Avoid cooking smelly foods.

Montana FWP

Hang all food, trash and other odorous items well away from camp and at least 10 feet above ground and 4 feet from any vertical support, or store in a bear-proof container. Livestock feed should be treated the same as human food.

Don't sleep in the same clothes you wore while cooking or eating.

Anglers also need to practice safe behavior in bear country:

Don't leave fish entrails on shorelines of lakes and streams.

Sink entrails in deep water.

If you don't properly dispose of entrails you increase danger to yourself and to the next person to use the area.

When responding to a bear incident, FWP considers several factors including the potential human safety threats, the intensity of the conflict and the bear's history of conflicts.

 

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