Grizzly bear stock photo (MTN News)

KALISPELL – Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has confirmed that there was a grizzly bear shot over the weekend just north of Bigfork.

FWP reports that a group of three hunters encountered a female grizzly and two yearlings off Foothills Road in the Peters Ridge area. On Nov. 26 at around noon, two of the hunters were walking down the ridgeline with the third hunter behind.

They were in heavy brush when a female grizzly emerged approximately 60 yards away and charged the hunters. The two hunters yelled at the bear before firing their rifles at the animal. The bear was shot and backed off while the hunters retreated to their car and left. FWP officers investigated and determined the bear had been injured but could not locate the grizzly.

FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish said that residents in the area should be aware of the lack of snow and cold weather that still has many bears searching for food.

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“The weather conditions that we’ve had have led to fewer bears going into their dens yet, they’re still out and about and they’re pretty active right now and before they den for winter time, they’re very hungry so they’re getting as much food sources as they can so we really want to recommend residents remove food attractants from around their homes,” said Tabish.

Tabish added that hunters should always carry bear spray so they can scare bears off effectively rather than shooting the animal and possibly killing it.

FWP officials want to remind the public that bears are still active and searching for food before denning for wintertime. Residents are also reminded to remove food attractants, such as garbage and bird feeders, to avoid conflicts with bears. Outdoor recreationists are encouraged to remain “bear aware” and take preventative steps, including carrying bear spray.

Click here for more information about how to be “Be Bear Aware.”

MTN’s Jack Ginsburg