CHOTEAU – The sighting of an adult female grizzly bear with young this week near Choteau is a good reminder for the public that bears are out and active. But it’s not just hikers, anglers and other outdoor recreationists who need to take bear safety seriously. Homeowners, farmers, ranchers, and anyone working outdoors needs to be bear aware and understand the potential for an encounter exists.
“Although late March is fairly early for a sow with cubs to leave the den, it illustrates how important it is for everyone to be prepared to encounter a bear.” said Chad White, bear management specialist with Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks in Choteau. “Winterkilled big game provides an important food source for bears in early spring, and livestock carcasses are a major attractant as well. Any unsecured food source, whether its pet food outdoors, a bird feeder loaded with seed, a home garbage container, or even spilled grain can draw in a bear, so to reduce the odds of that happening it’s important to remove or secure those attractants before the bears are out moving around this spring.”
It’s especially critical for people to make sure any potential attractants are located well away from human dwellings or activity and do not remain within a travel corridor or brushy cover that is likely to be used bears. This sow and cubs near Choteau demonstrate the importance of getting attractants secured or eliminated now, because the bears are already leaving their dens.
FWP is working actively with communities and agriculture producers to address problems and avoid bear conflicts. To report a sighting, conflict, or for assistance securing attractants, contact bear management specialists Chad White at 788-4755 or Wesley Sarmento at 450-1097.
For information on living, working, and recreating in Montana’s bear country, visit the FWP Bear Aware website at fwp.mt.gov/conservation/species/bear/bear-aware.