On June 22nd and 23rd, two young grizzly bears were captured about 10 miles northwest of Whitefish along the Stillwater River. The 2.5 years old siblings were captured after landowners had reported they were trying to get into a dog kennel to get dog food. A few days earlier, neighbors to the south reported bears had killed chickens on their property but felt it was black bears and not grizzly bears. Their scats were also full of sunflower seeds indicating they had been getting access to bird feeders in the area. Traps were set at both places and only the two grizzly bears were captured.
This was a first time capture for both bears. The first bear captured was a 172 lb female and her 200 lb male sibling was captured the next night. The bears were probably left in the area by the adult female that went off to breed. Grizzly bears typically kick off their two year old cubs during June, which is the peak of breeding season.
The decision was made to translocate the bears to different locations. The female was relocated to the upper Good Creek drainage in the Salish Range. The male was released in Deep Creek along the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir. Both bears were fitted with GPS radio collars so their movements could be monitored.
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 information on electric fencing and living in bear country: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware/default.html.