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Montanans urged to "be bear aware"

Posted at 8:50 AM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 10:51:01-04

MISSOULA — This time of year, you have a pretty good chance of glimpsing a bear if you're driving or recreating outside of town.

But there are a few things to keep in mind, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and our own wildlife correspondent, Tanner Saul.

Biologists estimate adults bears need up to 20,000 calories per day in the fall to store enough fat for hibernation.

This means they're on the lookout for the easiest food source, which could be your backyard.

Bears will look for high-calorie food such as fruit trees, trash cans, and pet food.

Because they're highly intelligent animals, they learn to revisit your yard if that's where they've been successful before.

While people and bears use some of the same environments, to productively coexist, it's important that bears live without the exploitation of human foods.

It is important to note, despite their name, black bears are not always black – they can also be light brown, blond or even grey-blue.

There is even a subspecies of black bear with white fur, known as the Kermode, or spirit bear, that lives in British Columbia.

Click here to learn more about how to "be bear aware"