FWP News: Recent grizzly bear sightings highlight the importance of bear awareness
By angelamontana

Posted: July 17, 2023

HELENA – This year Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has confirmed grizzly bear sightings in several places where grizzlies haven’t been seen in recent years, and in some cases more than a century.

Grizzly bear numbers and range continue to expand, particularly in areas between the Northern Continental Divide and the Great Yellowstone ecosystems.

Over the last couple of months, FWP staff have confirmed grizzly bear sightings in the North Hills and Grizzly Gulch areas near Helena, the Elkhorn Mountains near Clancy, near Ulm, in the Pryor Mountains southeast of Billings, the Shields Valley, Little Belt Mountains, near the Judith River east of Denton, and on the lower Dearborn River.

“Vigilance is important for those who live and recreate in the outdoors,” said Quentin Kujala, chief of conservation policy for FWP. “This is a busy time of year for bears and our field staff are responding to calls in these particular areas and across the state.”

As the grizzly bear population continues to expand across Montana, residents can take the following steps to help protect their property and be safe while recreating.

How to avoid attracting bears to your property

  • Store garbage in an IGBC-certified bear resistant bin or other similarly resistant building or container at all times until the day of disposal.
  • Avoid leaving food or smell attractants next to windows, doors or outside walls.
  • Do not leave out pet food, bird feeders and bird seed or BBQ’s.
  • Bears are attracted to fruit-bearing trees and bushes, gardens and compost piles. Electric fencing can be effective at deterring bears as well as routinely picking fallen and ripe fruit.
  • Secure vulnerable livestock (chickens, goats, sheep) with an electric fence whenever possible.

Tips for recreating in bear country

  • Carry bear spray close at hand and know how to use it.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible and plan to be back to your vehicle in the daylight hours.
  • Avoid carcass sites and concentrations of ravens and other scavengers.
  • Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.
  • Make noise, especially near streams or in thick forest where hearing and visibility is limited. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present.
  • Don’t approach a bear.

For more information being bear aware, click here.


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