Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is partnering with Counter Assault and the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club 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.
“The Blackfoot is an area where black and grizzly bear habitat overlap, and many of the same spots that are attractive to hunters are also spots that bears tend to concentrate,” said Jamie Jonkel, FWP Region 2 Bear Management Specialist.
To reduce the chance of bear and hunter conflicts, FWP Block Management staff shares safety tips with those headed to Shanley and Dick Creek BMAs and, for the sixth year in a row, a free can of bear spray, thanks to donations from the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club, along with discounted bear spray prices offered by Counter Assault.
And 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 and hunters continue to play in sharing bear updates and safety messages.
“There is huge value in the information sharing on current bear activity that goes on between those that live and spend time in the Blackfoot,” Jonkel said. “We hope that this heightened bear awareness, combined with getting bear spray in the hands of more hunters, will help to keep prevent more and more bear conflicts.”
(Report via Montana FWP; Feature photo via bestpepperspray.com)