The special Grizzly Bear Management Zone, also known as the McDonald Peak Grizzly Bear Area, is closed to all recreational use from July 15 to October 1 each year. This is due to grizzly bears utilizing is area, in search of a very important seasonal food source, the Army Cutworm moth.
Adult army cutworm moths make their journey from the eastern plains to the alpine habitat of the Rocky Mountains. During the hot summer months, they hibernate (aestivate) in large masses, within the high elevation rock slides, and are competitively sought out by grizzly bears within the Mission Valley.
Why are these large omnivores so interested in this snack-sized “moth candy”? According to the Montana Natural Heritage Program, 72 percent of the moth’s body mass is made up of fat; making them higher in calorie in-take than a grizzly bear gets from eating deer or elk. In Glacier National Park, a study estimated that one grizzly bear could eat approximately 40,000 moths per day, which calculates to about 20,000 calories!
Recreation restrictions on the Flathead Indian Reservation remain in place, and we remind community residents, that during the “shelter in place” order, outdoor recreating is one of very few activities allowed, as long as social distancing is practiced. When recreate on Tribal Land, Tribal conservation permits are required for individuals 12 years of age and older. Fishing permits are also required for non-member residents 14 years of age and older, both can be purchased on-line. Please visit Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website at www.fwp.mt.gov. If you have never purchased a permit, your information is not in the database. You will have to visit a vendor in person to purchase your permits.
The Tribal Wildlife Management Program highly encourages people to carry bear spray while recreatingand the user should know how to use it. For more information, contact the CS&KT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation & Conservation at 406-883-2888.