MISSOULA — The University of Montana has issued an alert four times over the last two weeks due to a bear being spotted on campus.
While it's unknown if it's the same bear with each report, the sightings have all been within the area ranging from the Curry Health Center to the "M" Trail parking lot.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) urges those on campus and in the surrounding University Neighborhood to "Be Bear Aware."
FWP officials are asking residents in those areas to eliminate bear attractants as much as possible -- including bringing in bird feeders at night, not taking the garbage out too early, and making sure your grill is clean.
FWP spokeswoman Vivica Crowser says that if you are out and encounter a bear it's best to give it space and have a plan.
"The first step is just stop. Give the bear space to leave, and in most cases that will take care of it. Bears don’t want to be around us any more than we want to be that close to them,” Cowser said.
“If it comes toward you and you have bear spray, wait until it gets close but go ahead and use that bear spray, that deterrent is usually going to get you into a safe space,” she added.
Crowser added it’s rare that a black bear will become aggressive and that bear sightings around town are not uncommon this time of year.
Most bears will be in hibernation by the beginning of December. Click here for more information on how to "Be Bear Aware".