With a spate of bear attacks recently in Montana, it is important to remember that slow moving, quiet and camouflaged hunters are sharing the landscape with the state’s even stealthier bears, which may be stalking similar prey.
As archery season comes to a close the general rifle season is set to begin and bird season is underway, it’s important to remember that bears are still active on the landscape storing up calories for the winter. And though hunters may have a rifle or shotgun in their hands, the best defense against a charging grizzly is appropriately deployed bear spray.
All hunters and recreationists must be prepared to encounter a grizzly bear and should consider all of western Montana grizzly bear country, not just the Rocky Mountain Front, Bob Marshall Wilderness complex and the Yellowstone ecosystem.
To safely hunt in bear country, all hunters should:
- carry bear spray and know how to use it
- hunt with a partner and let someone else know your plans
- get harvested big game out of the woods quickly
- upon returning to a site where harvested game is left unattended, study the site at a distance for any movement or changes and signal your approach by making plenty of noise
- never attempt to frighten or haze a bear from a carcass
- contact FWP if a bear has consumed a carcass or covered it with debris rendering it unsalvageable
For more on bears, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov; then click Be Bear Aware. Bear resistant products are described on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s website at www.igbconline.org. A “How to Hunt Safely in Grizzly Country” brochure is also available at FWP regional offices.