Here is an update of recent management activities involving grizzly bears in Region 1 (northwest Montana).
Montana is bear country. Black bears and grizzly bears are very active right now as denning season approaches. Bears are actively seeking food sources before winter, and residents are advised to clean up or secure food attractants, such as garbage, dog food, and livestock. Bears are particularly seeking out natural fruits, such as berries, and domestic fruits, such as apples and pears. Residents are advised to pick up any fallen fruit from their property to help prevent attracting a bear.
Chicken and livestock should be properly secured with electric fencing or inside a closed shed with a door. Recreationists are urged to “Be Bear Aware” and follow precautionary steps and tips to prevent conflicts, such as traveling in groups and making noise. Hunters should always remain vigilant and remember that moving slowly and quietly increases your chances of surprise encounters and game-calling mimics prey. Bear spray is an effective deterrent and everyone, especially hunters, is encouraged to carry it in the outdoors.
More safety information is available on the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website, fwp.mt.gov. Residents can call FWP regional offices to learn more about bears or to report bear activity. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.
Young Male Bear Moved to Marias Pass Area
FWP personnel captured a young male grizzly bear near Ovando on Sept. 19, 2018 and moved it to a remote section of Flathead National Forest land near Marias Pass.
The 190-pound subadult male was eating unsecured garbage on residential property in the Ovando valley. The bear did not have any prior conflicts with people. It was fitted with a GPS radio collar.
FWP coordinated with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the translocation.
Grizzly Bears Captured East of Whitefish
FWP personnel captured an adult female grizzly bear with two male cubs on private property off East Edgewood Drive east of Whitefish.
Reports initially indicated that a black bear had broken into a shed seeking chicken feed. FWP set a culvert trap on Sept. 22, 2018 and caught the family group of grizzly bears. After consulting with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FWP decided to fit the bears with GPS radio collars and move them to an area in the North Fork Flathead River drainage. The bears were released on private land after consultation and permission from the landowner. The female grizzly bear weighed 262 pounds and the cubs each weighed approximately 60-70 pounds.
Female Cub Moved After Breaking into Trailer, Freezer
On Sept. 20, 2018, FWP personnel responded to a report of a bear breaking into an outdoor freezer and vehicle camper and shattering windows on a storage trailer near Fortine. Chickens were also killed in the same general area.
Footage from a game camera identified an adult female grizzly bear and two cubs were involved in the incidents. FWP set up a culvert trap and captured one of the cubs, a 90-pound female. The cub was held until Sept. 23 as FWP tried to capture the two remaining bears but efforts were unsuccessful. All evidence suggested the adult female and cub left the area.
After consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FWP decided to fit the captured cub with a GPS radio collar and move it to an area in the North Fork Flathead River drainage. It was released Sept. 23 on private land after consultation and permission from the landowner.