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Black bear captured near downtown Helena

Black bear captured in Helena
Posted at 11:39 AM, Sep 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 11:20:32-04

HELENA — A black bear was captured in Helena Sunday morning near downtown.

Helena Police and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park responded to the incident near the intersection of 6th Ave and Raleigh Street. Helena Animal Control located the female bear around 9:00 a.m. FWP assisted with tranquilizing the bear and the two agencies had it loaded into an FWP trailer by 10:15 a.m.

At the same time the bear was captured, two mule deer on the same property were showing rut-like behavior by sparring with their antlers.

Helena Police Sergeant Berkley Conrad says this time of year they tend to see an uptick in bear and other large wildlife activity. He encourages people to pay attention to their surroundings when out and about.

“Pretty magical moment here in Helena in the fall,” noted Conrad. “Be aware of your surroundings. With the deer rutting with antlers… If people see something stay away, give them some distance and then get a hold of the police department.”

Black bear captured in Helena

FWP will be relocating the bear away from the city. Wardens told MTN the bear had previously been ear tagged, but this is the first time it is being relocated.

Helena Police and FWP noted this is the second bear in the last couple of weeks to be captured in Helena City limits, with a male black bear being relocated after being captured close to the Montana Department of Transportation Building near the Prospect Ave and I-15 interchange. FWP encourages anyone living near the urban-wildland interface to clean up and secure their attractants such as garbage and compost piles.

Bears will become more and more active in the coming months as they prepare for hibernation. FWP says avoiding a conflict is easier than dealing with one.

  • Bear spray is a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent. Carry EPA-approved bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Never feed wildlife, especially bears. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose a threat to human safety. And it is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
  • Know your bears. It is important to know the difference between grizzly bears and black bears, whether you are hunting or hiking.
  • Always keep a safe distance from wildlife. Never intentionally get close to a bear.
  • Loud noise, such as banging pots and pans, using an air horn or your car alarm, or shouting, is a simple, effective short-term way to deter a bear on private property.