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Guide To Bear Resistant Products Grows

Fish & Wildlife

Fri Mar 16 12:39:00 MDT 2012

Summer vacations and camping trips in 'bear country' will be safer and more convenient as the number of new bear resistant cooler designs are available on the market.

Some new cooler designs, featured on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee website, even eliminate the need to suspend food out of bears' reach. Those who do not use bear resistant coolers much still hang food at least 10 feet in the air and four feet from the pole or tree to meet food storage orders in grizzly bear country.

Homeowners considering the use of electric fencing to protect chicken yards or beehives from bears will also find new information on IGBC endorsed seven-strand and portable electric fence standards. A list of products and suppliers is also available on the IGBC website.

Products that the IGBC has tested and approved for use in bear country include small boxes for packing inside backpacks, canisters, panniers, food chests and more.

Food-storage orders in effect on U.S. Forest Service lands include the Flathead, Lolo, Lewis and Clark, and Helena National Forests. Local area signs explain the orders and offer tips on how to behave in bear country.

For details on USFS food storage orders, contact your local Ranger District Office, or check the Internet for the website of the forest you plan to visit. For example, the Flathead National Forest has its food order for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem posted online.

For a complete guide to living in bear country, go to the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov. Click Be Bear Aware. For information on bear-resistant containers and equipment go to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee website.