Male grizzly crosses into the Bitterroot Front

Posted at 2:38 PM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 18:05:27-04

STEVENSVILLE – There’s more evidence that grizzly bears could become more common in west-central Montana after biologists tracked a bear that crossed into the Bitterroot Front just west of Stevensville.

Last October, another young grizzly made headlines after he wandered onto the Whitetail Golf Course, which is north of Stevensville, adjacent to the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge.

There were no encounters, but the bear did cause some damage to the course, eventually being trapped and removed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It was released in the Lower Blackfoot Valley.

Now, FWP is reporting a new bear wearing a radio collar was tracked into the Bitterroot National Forest about 15-miles west of Stevensville earlier this week, before moving back into the Idaho backcountry.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists say they’ll continue to track the bear’s movements.

In addition to the bear on the Stevensville golf course, grizzlies have been spotted previously moving through areas like Lolo, the Sapphire Range and in the Big Hole Valley.

Bitterroot National Forest officials say the latest sighting is a reminder that people need to always carry bear spray, secure food and other products while camping — and to make sure there aren’t things to attracts grizzlies around their homes.

Click here to learn more about how to “Be Bear Aware” in Montana.

Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News