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Montana FWP Warns Folks About Biking In Bear Country

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Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Last June, Forest Service law enforcement officer Brad Treat was killed by a grizzly bear while mountain biking outside of Glacier National Park. Since then, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have been investigating the dangers surrounding biking in the wilderness. FWP Information and Education Manager Vivaca Crowser explains.

“Biking in bear country is tricky and it is trickier than hiking because you are obviously going at a faster speed and you’re coming around corners” said Crowser. “What happens most times when you have an encounter with a bear is it really is just a surprise encounter. You come up upon a bear, they’re not prepared, you’re not prepared and that really amps up the risk.”

According to Crowser, there are some precautions folks can take in order to avoid potential bear encounters.

“Go with a group if you can, if that is something that works for you because there are more people and a little bit more noise and warning for the bears,” Crowser said. “If you are alone especially, think about ways you can make noise every now and then. It doesn’t need to be a constant thing, but just saying hi bear or yo bear, something to get that noise out there beyond just the sound of your tires.”

Crowser recommends that all mountain bikers bring bear spray and have it easily accessible during their ride. Crowser also says it is important to watch a video on how to properly use bear spray if you have never done so.

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