CONRAD — Members of the Marias River Livestock Association met in Conrad on Monday to be introduced to two new grizzly bear and predator management team specialists.
Charles “Chad” White is the new Region 4 grizzly bear specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP).
“If I don’t have a good relationship with my community and they don’t know who to call when something goes wrong, then I have nothing. It really has to start with those grassroots efforts to meet with members of the community and establish a good relationship with them,” said White.
Working with USDA Wildlife Services, Curt “Skippy” Simms will be serving Pondera, Toole, and Liberty counties.
“I help livestock producers deal with conflict with predators ranging from coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain lions things like that. So on a daily basis I am working with livestock producers on any depredation issues they might have and helping to prevent those issues,” said Simms.
The purpose of bear specialists is to limit the number of attacks on livestock and interactions with predators and people as animals start moving about in the springtime.
“You don't want to meet these guys on the first day when it’s an emergency. It’s nice to know their face and it’s really nice for them to know you,” said Marias River Livestock Association president Maggie Nutter.
“We’re hoping to have more opportunities for people to learn more about how to deal with a situation. It’s nice to put a face with the name so we know who we’re calling and who we’re talking to if there’s any issues,” said Marias Livestock Association at-large director Clayton Gernaat.
FWP is working with communities and agriculture producers to address problems and avoid bear conflicts. To report a sighting, conflict, or for assistance securing attractants, contact bear management specialists White at (406) 788-4755 or Wesley Sarmento at (406) 450-1097. Visit the FWP "Bear Aware" page for more information.