Montana’s hibernating grizzly bears will soon be stirring.
Adult males usually emerge first from winter dens in mid-March. When bears emerge from their dens they are physically depleted and food is a priority. They focus on finding and eating carrion, like winter-killed elk and deer, for a quick boost of energy.
Grizzlies are often tempted to go where black bear, raccoons and domestic dogs are getting into garbage. If these species are already causing problems near-by, consider it an early warning that food attractants are available and need to be removed.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ bear experts stress that conflict prevention steps can greatly reduce the chances of attracting a grizzly bear.
FWP recommends bear resistant bins in communities and on ranches; electric fence systems to protect bee yards and sheep bedding grounds; random redistribution of livestock carcasses each spring; and educational programs in schools and communities.
FWP’s Be Bear Aware website at fwp.mt.gov is an easy way for homeowners and landowners to assess what they need to do now to prevent bear conflicts. Go there for tips and tools on obtaining and using bear spray, safe camping and hiking, access to bear resistant produce and a guide to the many food-related and other items that attract bears to a property.
(Report by Tom Palmer, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)