Residents of Choteau are no strangers to bears in the area - but sometimes those bears get a little too close for comfort.
On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, several roads off of 7th Street SW were closed for several hours due to possible bear activity. The city said in a news release that bear specialists with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, working with the Teton County Sheriff's Office, searched the area where the bear was last seen. The search included a dog and a thermal drone, but they were not able to find the bear. They planned to be out again on Wednesday evening to find the bear and get it to leave town.
On Saturday, August 27, a partially-consumed deer carcass was found next to the Choteau Rodeo Grounds and was reported to MT FWP. Signs of a bear were found at the site, though it is not clear how the deer died. FWP placed a camera and a scare alarm at the site to encourage the bear to move away from the area, as well as placing signs cautioning the public.
All residents and visitors are urged to be "bear aware." People are advised to consider carrying bear spray, and to avoid areas like berry patches and dense brush where a bear is more likely to be bedding or feeding.
Chris Hindoien, the mayor of Choteau, noted, “It is unusual to see bears in town, but it's not unusual to see bears. I mean, on any given night, if you take a drive east or west of town, north or south of town, you're probably going to see a bear of some sort. But this close to town, yes, it is unusual.”
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Choteau and the surrounding area are often frequented by grizzly bears. Check out this video from September 2018: