Maybe if we text them next week's weather forecast for western Montana, they'll hit the snooze button and stay in bed awhile longer.

With daytime highs forecast to be in the single digits by the middle of next week, it's not going to feel like it should be time for grizzly bears to be coming out of hibernation. But apparently, there's been enough milder days to get them to start stirring, at least a few weeks ahead of normal.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks gave us one example of grizzly bear tracks being reported in Helmville in the past week. Male grizzlies typically stay put in their dens until early to mid-March at least, and female grizzlies tend to stay put even a little longer. It will be interesting to see if many more early sightings are reported.

Region-wide, there are multiple black bears active, according to the Missoula Bears monitoring website.  And they offer some explanations as to why.

Missoula Bears says that there are at least ten orphaned black bear cubs being reported, perhaps due to food failure last year. Montana FWP is monitoring their activity. Sadly, there also been some   road-killed orphaned cubs.

Several adult black bears have also been active, including an adult male in Miller Creek eating road-killed deer, a black bear in the Rattlesnake that is finding unsecured garbage and bird feeders, and black bears in the Frenchtown, St. Regis and Bonner areas.

FWP reminds you that if you know there is a black bear active in your area, please do not put out bird feeders and make sure garbage cans are bear-resistant.

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Montana is named Big Sky Country for several reasons, not only grandiose Sunsets but impressive weather events as well! Ask any Montana resident who has scoffed at the idea of tossing a blanket or snow shovel in the trunk of the car ” just in case”. Here is a list of Montana's Top 10 Record-Setting Wild Weather Events


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