KALISPELL — State wildlife officials recently captured a grizzly bear near Columbia Falls and moved the animal to a remote location in the North Fork Flathead River drainage.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports that the 242-pound subadult male grizzly bear was eating from fruit trees and garbage on private property north of U.S. Highway 2 off North Hilltop Road.
FWP captured the bear Nov. 14 to prevent food conditioning and habituation to people. The bear was fitted with a GPS collar.
FWP moved the bear to a remote location on the Flathead National Forest near Whale Creek in consultation with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and in accordance with Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Guidelines, according to a news release.
Residents are asked to remove or secure food attractants such as garbage, bird feeders and bird seed. Homeowners should stay at least 100 yards away from wildlife and try to haze animals off their property with loud noises.
Chickens and other livestock should be properly secured with electric fencing or inside a closed shed with a door. Domestic fruit should be picked up as soon as possible.
Recreationists are urged to “Be Bear Aware” and follow precautionary steps and tips to prevent conflicts, including carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it, and traveling in groups while making noise.
FWP officials note that hunters should avoid hanging carcasses near houses or garages. Carcasses must be suspended at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet out from any upright support.
Residents are encouraged to report bear activity as soon as possible.
To report grizzly bear activity in the greater Flathead Valley, call FWP bear management specialists at (406) 250-1265. To report black bear and mountain lion activity in the greater Flathead Valley, call (406) 250-0062.
To report bear activity in the Cabinet-Yaak area, call (406) 291-1320.