Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is working with local partners again this year to get free bear spray and safety tips into the hands of hunters headed to two Block Management Areas (BMAs) in the Blackfoot Valley.
FWP staff shares bear safety tips with those headed to Shanley and Dick Creek BMAs and, for the seventh year in a row, a free can of bear spray, thanks to donations from the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife, along with discounted bear spray prices offered by Counter Assault.
“Over the years, as a result of this partnership, we’ve been able to get bear spray into the hands of so many more people,” says FWP Bear Management Specialist, Jamie Jonkel. “Now hunters are mentoring other hunters in the use of bear spray, and it is much more common to see people in the field with a can of bear spray at their side.”
As part of the larger bear aware effort in the Blackfoot, hunters must also store food and all other potential bear attractants (such as garbage and pet and livestock food) in a bear resistant container on BMAs that allow overnight camping.
Jonkel also points to the important role that Blackfoot landowners, residents, hikers, hunters and others continue to play in sharing bear updates and safety messages.
“We hope that sharing information on bear activity, combined with getting bear spray in the hands of more people, we will continue to reduce the number of bear conflicts in the Blackfoot,” Jonkel said.