KALISPELL — State wildlife officials report a grizzly bear that had multiple conflicts with people in the Eureka area was recently captured and euthanized.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) received reports of an adult female grizzly bear with three cubs getting into buildings, cabins, chicken coops, and outdoor freezers in search of food sources.
The female was previously captured and moved after conflicts with people in Lincoln County.
FWP bear specialists captured the adult female and two of the cubs in early October and based on reports, the bears were "severely food conditioned."
A decision to euthanize the adult bear was made after consulting with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and by Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines.
FWP was unable to capture the third cub and transported the two cubs to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center for temporary placement, according to a news release.
Both cubs will be sent to ZooMontana in Billings.
FWP notes once a bear has become food-conditioned, "hazing and aversive conditioning are unlikely to be successful in reversing this type of behavior."
People are asked to immediately report bear conflicts to FWP or their tribal wildlife management agency.
According to FWP, addressing conflicts promptly can help bears from becoming severely food-conditioned or habituated.
In northwest Montana, contact:
- North portion of Flathead County and Eureka area - Justine Vallieres, 406-250-1265
- South portion of Flathead County - Erik Wenum, 406-250-0062
- Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem and Sanders County – Jennifer Wissmann, 406-291-1320
- Flathead Indian Reservation - Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Management Program, 406-275-2774
- For livestock conflicts, contact USDA Wildlife Services at 1-866-4USDAWS
Bears are increasingly active and seeking food in Montana as they prepare for winter.
FWP offers the following tips in bear country:
- Carry bear spray close at hand and know how to use it.
- Properly secure or remove food attractants, including fruit, livestock, livestock feed, garbage, and bird feeders.
- Travel in groups whenever possible and plan to be back to your vehicle in the daylight hours.
- Avoid carcass sites and concentrations of ravens and other scavengers.
- Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.
- Make noise, especially near streams or in thick forest where hearing and visibility is limited. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present.
- If you are attacked by a bear and you are without a deterrent or the deterrent hasn’t worked, stay face down on the ground, protecting your face and neck with your arms. Stay still until you’re certain the bear has moved away.
- Never approach a bear.
- A properly constructed electrified fence is both safe for people, livestock and pets, and has proven effective at deterring bears from human-related resources such as beehives, garbage or small livestock. For assistance or more information, contact your local FWP bear management specialist.
Learn more about bears at https://fwp.mt.gov/conservation/wildlife-management/bear.