Bear reminder issued ahead of Montana general big game season - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Bear reminder issued ahead of Montana general big game season

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(MTN News photo) (MTN News photo)

HELENA - State wildlife officials are issuing a reminder about the dangers of bears as hunters get ready to kick off the general big game hunting season on Oct. 21.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks caution that bears can be anywhere in the western half of the state and sometimes beyond. Grizzly bears have recently shown up in places they haven’t been for decades, maybe even in more than a century – the Big Belt Mountains west of White Sulphur Springs.

FWP notes bears are now moving off seasonal sources of food and that livestock in and around these sources of food become more susceptible to depredation as bears look to put on weight for the winter.

This is a critical time of year to be bear aware, according to FWP and hunters should take every possible precaution when in bear country.

All hunters should take the following precautions:

  • Carry bear spray and be ready to use it at a second’s notice
  • Hunt with a partner, leave detailed plans with someone and check-in periodically
  • Pay attention to fresh bear signs. Look for bear tracks, scat, and concentrations of natural foods
  • Use caution when hunting areas that have evidence of bear activity or areas with scavenging birds such as magpies, ravens, or crows get harvested big game out of the woods quickly
  • Upon returning to a site where harvested game is left unattended, study the site at a distance for any movement or changes and signal your approach by making plenty of noise
  • Never attempt to frighten or haze a bear from a carcass
  • Contact FWP if a bear has consumed a carcass or covered it with debris rendering it unsalvageable.

Most grizzly bears will typically leave an area if they sense a human presence, according to FWP.

Hunters who observe a grizzly bear or suspect a bear is nearby should leave the area. If you do encounter a grizzly, stay calm, don't run, and assess the situation by trying to determine if the bear is actually aware of you.

Click here for more information about bears in Montana.

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