MISSOULA – State wildlife officials say that bears are continuing to make the rounds across Western Montana as the animals get ready to hibernate.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has been receiving several reports of bears in domestic fruit trees adjacent to homes. FWP officials add that they have also been getting a lot of calls from people who want FWP to trap and remove black bears that are feeding on domestic fruit and garbage that has been left out all week.
FWP states the agency will not simply trap and remove black bears for getting into garbage or domestic fruit unless the homeowner(s) remove and/or secure attractants, and then only if the issue continues.
Wildlife officials recommend that communities experiencing chronic issues with bears getting into garbage and other attractants organize and work towards making communities bear smart.
Black bear sightings:
Big Flat: A black bear entered an open garage and got into garbage. Please close garage doors.
Rock Creek: There have been reports of several black bears getting into garbage. Contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pickup.
Rattlesnake: There have been several black bears reported in trees in the neighborhood. These bears are using these trees to rest during the day. They will usually move on during the night. Do not approach black bears in trees. Please remove attractants and pick fruit near homes.
Mid-Blackfoot Valley: A female black bear was killed during an encounter with a dog in someone’s yard. The bears were there eating apples. The cubs were taken to the rehab center in Helena. Black bears continue to be seen in the area, including another family group. FWP is working with residents in the area on getting attractants contained and apples picked.
Superior area: A homeowner killed a black bear in a yard. The bear was eating apples and had an encounter with their dog.
Grizzly bear sightings:
Blackfoot and Clearwater: Hunters, including duck hunters, continue to report encountering grizzly bears at close range (50-60 yards) as well as seeing grizzly bears at a distance. Duck and bird hunters with dogs should be especially aware because a free-roaming dog can occasionally lead to an encounter between the dog and a bear and the dog can bring the bear back to you. Two elk that were left by hunters overnight were taken over by grizzlies. Hunters should know how to use and always carry bear spray. A female with cubs was seen crossing Hwy 200 in front of vehicles. A bear of unknown species was seen pulling a road-killed elk off of Hwy 200.
Beavertail Hill area: FWP is investigating several reports that a possible grizzly bear got into garbage.