BOZEMAN - The Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the start of the summer camping season, and that means it’s time to think about storing food properly in bear country.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' Morgan Jacobsen says the best way to do that is to use an approved bear box that you can find in many developed campgrounds across western Montana. These boxes are heavy, metal with latching doors that bears cannot open. Jacobsen says it is important to stash not only food but any items you may have that have a scent to them. He says that the list includes deodorant, toothpaste, and cooking utensils.
Jacobsen says if you are camping in a place without bear boxes, there are still several approved ways to store food safely. He says the easiest is in a closed automobile, with windows closed. Jacobsen says the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) has compiled a list of approved storage containers. He says you can find that list at igbconline.org.
Jacobsen also strongly suggests carrying bear spray when out camping anywhere in Southwest Montana. He notes that bear country is really all land west of Billings - so if you are planning to camp in Southwest Montana just think of it as being bear country and take appropriate safety steps.