FWP is reminding people that with bears emerging from their dens it’s time to put away any attractants that might be out.
After a bear emerges, it takes a few weeks for its digestive system to get back to normal. The bear has been in the den for 4-5 months without eating, defecating, or urinating, so the stomach and digestive system are empty. Bears start out eating dry grass or roughage to activate the digestive system. Once the bears system is up and running the search for higher quality foods begins.
FWP Bear and Lion Specialist Erik Wenum says that some bears are already in the valley looking for easy foods and asks residents to secure garbage, pet food and other attractants.
If a bear gets into trouble, the sooner it’s reported the better. If the problem goes unchecked it only gets worse, the bear gets more persistent and will go to greater efforts to get those foods. The more habituated and food conditioned the bear is the shorter its future will be. Here are some simple tips to avoid bear conflicts:
• Secure garbage inside a garage or shed
• Roll garbage out the morning of pick up not the night before.
• If you haul your own trash, take it to the landfill more often – don’t stockpile.
• Feed pets inside or bring food in at night
• Clean up livestock food or food put out for wildlife
• Bring in bird feeders, clean up spilled seed
• Haul any livestock carcasses to the landfill
• Protect chickens or other fowl with electric fencing.
Guidelines for electric fencing are available at FWP’s website or contact FWP’s Bear Management Specialists.
To report bear issues please contact FWP at 752-5501.
(Report by John Fraley, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks – Region 1)