Bears on the move in northwest Montana

Posted at 1:53 PM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-28 15:53:15-04

Female grizzly bear with two cubs in northwest Montana. (photo credit: FWP)

KALISPELL – It’s that time of year again!

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks report that bears are beginning to wake up from their winter slumber across northwest Montana, and folks need to remember to remove food attractants from their properties to avoid conflicts.

FWP is encouraging residents to “Be Bear Aware” and remove attractants every spring by April 1.

“With this year’s above-average snowpack, bears are coming out of their dens and digging out from several feet of snow. There’s no place for them to go but down toward the valley floor to feed,” said FWP Region 1 Grizzly Bear Management Specialist Tim Manley.

Residents are being asked to remove or secure food attractants such as garbage and bird feeders and bird seed. Chicken and livestock should be properly secured with electric fencing or inside a closed shed with a door.

FWP also points out that it’s illegal to intentionally feed deer and other ungulates, mountain lions, and bears. This includes putting out grain, deer blocks, mineral blocks, sunflower seeds, meat scraps and other food.

Montana’s spring black bear hunting season begins April 15. Hunters are required to pass a “black bear identification test” before purchasing a black bear hunting license. The free test is available online.

Click here for more information about identifying the difference between black bears and grizzly bears. You can also click here for information on using bear spray, safe recreating and access to bear-resistant products.

Folks are also being reminded to contact FWP at (406) 752-5501 to report any conflicts in Northwest Montana.