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Fish, Wildlife, and Parks officials urge Flathead Valley residents to be bear aware

GRIZZLY BEAR (file photo)
Posted at 3:42 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 18:14:50-04

KALISPELL — We all know summer in Montana means heading outdoors, whether that's hiking the backcountry or spending a day on the lake.

But Montana is also bear country, which means when you're recreating, you need to stay bear aware.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports there have been sightings of black bears and even grizzlies throughout the Flathead Valley recently.

Several incidents have been caught overnight on people's night cams as the bears rummage through garbage, for example.

And that's exactly what wildlife officials do not want.

Bears have a keen sense of smell—they can smell attractants like garbage and food from a mile away.

FWP managers say that leaving garbage outside overnight can attract bears to your home, but it's an avoidable problem.

“It's really important to take steps like putting them inside, putting them in electric fencing if you need to, securing them with a bear-resistant container,” said Dillon Tabish, FWP spokesman.

Do not leave out pet food, bird feeders and birdseed, or BBQs.

Bears are attracted to fruit-bearing trees and bushes, gardens, and compost piles. Install an effective and maintained electric fencing. Pick fruit immediately once it is ripe.

And always, always carry bear spray when in bear country!