An adult female grizzly bear and her two yearlings were captured on May 16th south of Ferndale. The bears had gotten into two small chest freezers that were outside of a mobile home. The adult female is 9 years old and weighed 309 pounds. The male yearling weighed 126 pounds and the yearling female weighed 112 pounds. The adult female was fitted with a GPS radio collar and the family group was released together at the end of the Spotted Bear River Road on May 17th.
The landowner contacted FWP after the bears visited the freezers two nights in a row. A temporary electric fence was erected around the freezers and remote cameras were deployed to determine if more than one bear was present. The family group was photographed the next night when they returned and the electric fence deterred them from accessing the freezers. Two nights later, the bears returned and were able to access the freezers again. The decision was made to capture the bears and work for a permanent solution to securing the freezers.
The adult female was identified as a bear that had been last captured as a two-year old in 2010 near Lakeside after she had killed chickens. At that time she was fitted with a GPS collar and released just west of Blacktail Mountain. She stayed in the Blacktail and Lake Mary Ronan area until the fall of 2010. She then swam across Flathead Lake and eventually ended up in the Swan Valley. She dropped her radio collar in the spring of 2011 south of Swan Lake. She had no history of conflict with people from 2010 until now.
Grizzly bears have been emerging from their dens and due to the large amount of snow in the mountains, several grizzly bears have moved into the lower elevations where the vegetation has greened up. MT FWP has gotten reports of grizzly bears and have responded to calls in the Eureka, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and Ferndale areas. Residents are reminded to secure attractants such as garbage, pet food, livestock feed, and bird seed. Pick your fruit when it is ripe and protect your fruit trees, livestock, and poultry with electric fencing. In Montana, it is illegal to feed bears and ungulates. This includes putting out grain and deer blocks. For more information on electric fencing and living in bear country visit: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware/default.html.