Here Bear, There Bear, Everywhere Relocations in Flathead Area
Maybe they're COVID-restless, too, but this seems like as good of a summer as any to be extra grizzly bear aware in Montana.
Just last week alone, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ specialists captured three grizzly bears in the greater Flathead Valley. And attempts to capture three other bears were unsuccessful. All but two of the six bears were accessing human-related food sources and at risk of becoming food conditioned, a common management challenge for FWP.
When bears access unsecured food sources, such as garbage or bird feeders, they can become dependent on those sources and lose their natural foraging behavior. This can create a public safety issue. It can also result in the bear being euthanized. Fortunately, the three captured last week were relocated.
On July 8, FWP specialists captured an adult female grizzly bear near Bigfork. The bear did not display aggressive behavior, but it was accessing bird feeders and unsecured garbage. On July 10, a yearling female grizzly was recaptured between Coram and Martin City. The bear had been captured twice the previous fall in Ferndale with an adult female that was killing chickens and causing damage to vehicles. And on July 12, a 4-year old female grizzly was captured north of Echo Lake where traps were set.
FWP, with its federal and tribal partners, works on the ground with landowners, nonprofit organizations and the general public to prevent conflicts and promote safety and education. This includes promoting electric fencing and certified bear-resistant garbage cans, as well as other “Bear Aware” behaviors. And while it sounds like it's stuck on Repeat, the common-sense advice remains the same:
Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
Remove or secure food attractants like garbage, chickens & bird feeders.
Use loud noises to haze bears off your property.
Hike in groups & make noise.