From South Hills to Grant Creek, Bears Rumage Through Missoula
Nearly every day this week, Bear Manager James Jonkel with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says he has received between five to six calls about bear sightings in urban areas in western Montana.
"Just about every May it is like this. It's a little more pronounced this year, because of the drought, all of the bears come down into the riparian areas along the creeks and rivers. Starting about four or five days ago, all of the bears started shunting down, all around the Missoula valley. We've got bears in the South Hills, the Rattlesnake, Grant Creek, Miller Creek... you name it, any direction."
Some of the most worrying calls for Jonkel are about bears getting into trash and bird feeders.
"I had about six people call me in the last couple days asking me if I'll come set a trap because bears were getting into the bird feeder," Jonkle said We won't do that, you gotta take the bird feeders down, that's what is sucking them in in the first place. I hate to make the comparison, but it's kind of like leaving 100 dollar bills in the windshield wipers of your car and not expecting people to come take them."
Jonkel says bears near bird feeders run the risk of becoming conditioned and can quickly become a dangerous public nuisance. On Wednesday, Jonkel says he had to remove a bird feeder conditioned bear from the Orchard Homes area.