From Montana FWP
Help keep neighborhood bear conflicts to a minimum this fall by removing or securing backyard bear attractants such as fruit, birdseed, pet food, compost piles and garbage.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Bear Management Specialist, Jamie Jonkel, says that there have been a lot of bears in neighborhoods lately, and many have been drawn in by apples and other fruit trees. “It’s the time of year where bears are out looking to stock up before winter and many are finding food near our homes, such as fruit. To keep bears away from our backyards, be sure that fruit is picked from trees and off the ground.” Jonkel says to store all fruit inside or in a secure garage or shed or consider electric fencing.
Bears that have easy access to domestic fruit trees and other attractants tend to stay around, which causes safety concerns and sometimes the need to relocate or euthanize bears if they become hooked on these backyard foods instead of natural sources.
Keeping neighborhoods free of attractants is the key way to keep people and bears safe. In addition to fruit, be sure to keep garbage indoors until the day of collection; consider using electric fencing around chickens, garden areas and compost piles; and move other attractants such as pet food and fruit indoors or into a secure building.
Fruit Picking Assistance
If you are unable to pick your fruit and would like assistance in Missoula, there are several organizations that can lend a hand. For more information, go to missoulabears.org and follow links to “community resources” and “attractant management.” West of Missoula, in the Huson and Alberton areas, contact the Ninemile Wildlife Workgroup online at ninemilewildlife.org, by phone at 406-626-4274 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ninemile Cider Pressing Oct. 12
Several local organizations also make minimizing bear attractants part of fun family events. On Saturday, Oct. 12 from 11am-3pm, the Ninemile Wildlife Workgroup is hosting an Apple Cider Festival and Chili Cookoff at the 9Mile Community Center (25620 Nine Mile Road, Huson). Bring your backyard apples and get assistance pressing them into cider for free. The free event is open to anyone, and a chili lunch and desserts are offered for a small fee. Learn more at ninemilewildlife.org.
For more information on minimizing backyard bear attractants, visit fwp.mt.gov and following links to “fish and wildlife,” and “living with wildlife.”