NewsMissoula County


Bear Smart Community program eyed for Missoula

Missoula bear
Posted at 10:58 AM, Mar 25, 2022

MISSOULA - We are no strangers to bears in the Missoula Valley — which includes grizzlies and black bears.

Now, there's a new effort to help us co-exist with the animals so fewer have to be destroyed when they get into garbage or chicken coops. It's called the Bear Smart Community program, made up of local citizens who want to help reduce bear conflicts.

Most of those conflicts come from unsecured garbage or bird feeders or other attractants bears can't resist. That's why it's up to us to be more aggressive in our approach to managing our properties. It's a six-point plan that's designed to identify problem areas and offer solutions.

“What we have now is a revolving door where bears come and they get into trouble and they're either moved or they're destroyed. And people think the problem is solved because the bear is gone,” said Dr. Chris Servheen with Bear Smart Missoula. “But the problem isn’t solved. The moving of the bears and the killing of the bears is just treating the symptom, it’s not treating the problem.

Friday during the 5:30 News Jill Valley will look into the plan to make Missoula Bear Smart and why it's going to take a 'human' effort to co-exist with the animals.