Friday, September 30, 2011
Reports of Montana's grizzly bears moving into new territory have Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials urging hunters to prepare to see grizzly bears in unexpected places this fall.
Earlier this year, for example, a female grizzly bear and cubs were identified near Shelby—the first time bear managers have documented a female grizzly so far east of the Rocky Mountain Front.
If you are thinking of hunting alone, let someone know about your plans, or better yet, hunt with a partner.
While you are out, pay attention to fresh bear sign, and abide by the golden rule of hunting in bear country: "get your harvest out of the area as quickly as possible."
A carcass left on the ground, hung up in a camp, or stored in a pickup bed will fairly quickly attract a bear. Bears are opportunists that take advantage of new food sources.
- Always assume that grizzlies are in the area and make certain your camps, cabins, and homes are bear proof, and that bear attractants are unavailable or contained.
- Always carry bear spray. Keep the spray within reach and know how to use it.
Hunters should report encounters with grizzly bears where the bear is aggressive or displays defensive behaviors toward people, livestock or pets. Contact FWP at 1-800-TIP-MONT, call the U.S. Forest Service, or contact an FWP bear management specialist nearest the area where the bear is seen:
- Mike Madel, Choteau, 406-466-5100
- Tim Manley, Kalispell, 406-751-4584
- Kim Annis, Libby, 406-293-4161 X107
- Kevin Frey, Bozeman, 406-994-3553
- James Jonkel, Missoula, 406-542-5508
For more on safe hunting in grizzly bear country, see the FWP 2011 big game regulations.