As summer starts to wind down, lush berry crops and other food sources around Red Lodge are drawing grizzly bears in closer to town and residents need to be extra vigilant about securing attractants like garbage, pet food and bird feeders to avoid conflicts.
Grizzly bears are currently active along Rock Creek in and near the town of Red Lodge. The bears have not been confirmed in conflict with people at this time. Please be bear aware as you travel in the Rock Creek corridor and keep attractants secure to prevent any future conflicts.
Bears are beginning to pack on calories to survive the long winter in the den, so they are busy seeking out all food sources.
Grizzly bears continue to expand out away from the mountains and timber, especially in the Red Lodge area, where Rock Creek offers seclusion, cover, and natural foods. These dense brush areas are prime habitat for wildlife including both black and grizzly bears. Keep the possibility of bears in mind when accessing and moving along Rock Creek, even in town.
Grizzly bears are relatively common in the mountains and hills around Red Lodge. And, from time to time, these bears will frequent areas in and around town where they can find food and security. As seasonal food crops, like berries, ripen, bears will begin to focus on areas where that food is located, like creek bottoms and riparian areas.
Tips to help avoid bear conflicts are:
- Take down bird feeders and make sure all bird seed is cleaned up around the area where the feeder hung.
- Make sure your garbage cans are either bear resistant or stored indoors. Make sure your bear resistant container is securely latched.
- Keep barbecue grills cleaned and stored indoors when not in use.
- Feed pets indoors if possible and always store pet food indoors or in a bear resistant container.
- Pick the fruits and berries that have ripened in your yard.
- Anglers should be alert to the possibility of bears as they wade along Rock Creek.
- Travel in groups if possible.
- Make noise as you travel especially in areas of reduced visibility.
- Carry bear spray, have it handy and know how to use it.
If you see bears in the Red Lodge area or have conflicts with bears on your property, please call Montana Fish, Wildlife &Parks local staff at 406-850-1131.