FWP: More bears than usual being seen in Missoula area

Bear Management Sign Missoula
UM Bear.jpg
Rattlesnake Black Bear
Posted at 4:00 PM, Sep 07, 2022

MISSOULA - Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) reports more bears than normal are coming into town — and they're arriving earlier than usual.

FWP says they've trapped and relocated multiple bears this year — including two bears from Higgins Avenue in Missoula.

A third "Hip Strip bear" is still in the downtown area.

State wildlife officials also say they have euthanized "a handful" of bears this year, including two from the Rattlesnake area.

UM Bear.jpg
A black bear on the University of Montana campus on August 15, 2022.

Bears are known to be in the Rattlesnake area, the South Hills, Pattee Canyon, Bonner, and near the University of Montana around Mount Sentinel.

FWP says a trap has been set on UM for the two black bears that were spotted near the M trailhead earlier this week.

James Jonkel with the FWP Region 2 Bear Management Team says this amount of activity is typical for October, but is happening early this year due to food failure at higher elevations.

Rattlesnake Black Bear

"There's a lot of black bears, but there is also a lot of grizzlies. We're starting to see more grizzly activity in areas where they haven't normally been,” Jonkel said.

“We've got grizzly activity in around the Missoula Valley and we're starting to see some more grizzly bear activity in the Bitterroot Valley,” Jonkel continued.

FWP says the bears on campus have not caused any harm to humans, so if they are trapped, they will be relocated. Jonkel is reminding people to stay “Bear Aware” when recreating.