An adult female grizzly bear and her two-year old cub were captured just west of Lake Blaine during the past two days. The two grizzly bears had been reported getting into fruit trees and traveling through residents’ yards in the Van Sant and Liahona Lane areas. The bears had also been reported south of Lake Blaine near Kaufman Lake.
The bears did considerable damage to a fruit orchard, breaking branches on the 30 year old trees. The residents were working on picking their fruit but it was a slow process. To protect the fruit trees, about 1000 feet of temporary electric fence was installed to protect the trees and to make capturing the bears easier. Until the fence was installed, the bears ignored the traps and continued breaking limbs off the trees.
Grizzly Bear Management Specialist Tim Manley reports that the adult female was about 18 years old and weighed 231 pounds. She was originally captured on 9/12/2006 north of Lake Blaine in an old apple orchard while trapping for another grizzly bear. Her offspring was a 152 pound male. Both bears were in good shape but a bit thin for this time of the year.
The grizzly bears were both radio-collared and released together in the Puzzle Creek drainage, southeast of Marias Pass.
FWP has also been trapping for other grizzly bears in the Martin City, Columbia Falls, Foothill Road, and Lost Creek areas. Residents should take steps to secure garbage, pet food, and livestock feed. Chickens, fruit trees, and bee hives can be best protected with electric fencing.