Wildlife officials captured a grizzly bear in the Ovando area on Sept. 2 and relocated it to the north side of the Rattlesnake Wilderness the same day. The bear was captured after it repeatedly returned to an abandoned shed in search of grain and horse food. The 211-pound female grizzly did not have a prior history of conflicts.
In fall, bears are increasingly active in preparation for winter denning, and many conflicts involve bears getting into livestock feed and unsecured garbage as they search for food.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks specialists work to help landowners and communities avoid bear conflicts. Montana is bear country with populations of grizzly and black bears that frequent higher and lower elevations, especially river corridors. Preventing a conflict is easier than dealing with one.Bear spray is a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent. Carry EPA-approved bear spray and know how to use it.
- Never feed wildlife, especially bears. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose a threat to human safety. And it is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
- Know your bears. It is important to know the difference between grizzly bears and black bears, whether you are hunting or hiking.
- Always keep a safe distance from wildlife. Never intentionally get close to a bear.
- Loud noise, such as banging pots and pans, using an air horn or your car alarm, or shouting, is a simple, effective short-term way to deter a bear on private property.
- A properly constructed electrified fence is both safe for people, livestock and pets, and has proven effective at deterring bears from human-related resources such as beehives, garbage or small livestock.
Please report conflicts to one of the nearest FWP bear management specialists in your area. For a list of specialists, visithttps://fwp.mt.gov/conservation/species/bear/contact.
Seeing a bear is not necessarily a reportable encounter or an emergency. Report encounters where the bear displayed aggressive or defensive behavior toward people, livestock or pets, or damaged property. In an emergency, phone 9-1-1. For livestock conflicts, contact USDA Wildlife Services.
Learn more about grizzly bears in Montana by visiting fwp.mt.gov/conservation/species/bear. To reach FWP west-central Montana bear specialist Jamie Jonkel, call 406-542-5508. In cases of depredation or wounded livestock, call your local USDA Wildlife Services agent.