Black Bears Searching For Food in Montana’s Lowlands
By Toby Trigger
A man and his wife were walking their two dogs in a community south of Troy, MT on Thursday which is not unusual except for the 12 gauge pump conspicuously riding at waist height in one hand and the dog leash in the other.
I asked them how their morning was going and they in turn asked me if I had “seen the bear”. I said no and I hadn’t and frankly, I wasn’t really worried about it. A few hours later I saw a bear a hundred yards off the highway so I stopped to snap a photo. That’s when I saw the other bear in a tree. I switched lenses and moved in for a closer look. As I made my way back to my truck two hunters stood next to their truck which was now parked next to mine. Soon our conversation turned to hunting and they invited me to look in the bed of their truck where a fine chocolate colored bear they had shot just an hour before lay.
A bear moves through the lowland brush in Montana on Thursday. Bear activity has been higher than usual in Montana’s western valleys due to a poor wild berry crop this year.
The bear was taken with a .300 win at just 40 yards while feeding in an apple tree – down low and far from the mountain tops.
There’s a general theme this fall everywhere I’ve travelled in Montana: the bears don’t have any food in the forests this year so they are searching for food in the valleys.
This could be the year to tag out on a bear without traversing steep rocky slopes over natures crop of huckleberries. Then again, I’d keep an eye on your apple trees and back yard berry patch.