The number of bear sightings in the Missoula valley is increasing and Montana FWP bear manager Jamie Jonkle says there’s a good reason for the sightings… more bears are in the valley.

"In the last week we have seen more bears showing up everyday," Jonkle said. "The rattlesnake is a perfect example. We have a couple bears visit here and there through the summer, but I would say we easily have ten right now and more to come. Come fall we will have upwards of 30 bears in the rattlesnake feeding on apples."

Though the Rattlesnake gets a lot of attention for bear activity, Jonkle says they are all over the valley and that bears have a special mental map for every fruit tree in they’ve ever come across.

"Now is the time of the year to run a real tight ship," Jonkle said. "if you live near a creek or a mountain and you have a fruit tree, you better expect some bear activity. You should pick those fruit or get an electric fence put in around them."

Jonkle says he gets about five calls a day on bear sightings and problems in Missoula at this point in the year, by October he expects to get around 15 to 20 calls per day.

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