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Take Care As Bears Begin To Stir

Fish & Wildlife

Thursday, March 10, 2016

With a mild end of the winter, some of Montana's hibernating black bears and grizzly bears are beginning to stir.

Adult males usually emerge first from winter dens in mid-March, but some bears have been sighted in Yellowstone National Park. When bears emerge from their dens they are physically depleted and food is a priority.

Bears are often tempted to go where raccoons and domestic dogs are getting into garbage. If these animals are already causing problems nearby, consider it an early warning that food attractants are available and need to be removed.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' bear experts stress that conflict prevention steps can greatly reduce the chances of attracting black and grizzly bears.

FWP recommends bear resistant bins in communities and on ranches; electric fence systems to protect bee yards and sheep bedding grounds; random redistribution of livestock carcasses each spring; and educational programs in schools and communities.

FWP's Be Bear Aware website at fwp.mt.gov is an easy way for homeowners and landowners to assess what they need to do now to prevent bear conflicts. Go there for tips and tools on obtaining and using bear spray, safe camping and hiking, access to bear resistant products and a guide to other items that attract bears to a property.