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FWP urging Montanans to be bear aware this fall

Posted at 10:08 AM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 12:08:59-04

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are asking everyone to "Be Bear Aware" this coming fall.

“If you’re out and about in the western half of the state, you really need to be prepared to see grizzly bears,” FWP spokesman Greg Lemon said. “That means carrying bear spray and be ready to use it.”

FWP states bear spray is the best way to reduce the severity of a bear attack. Hunters should always have bear spray on them, and in a place, they can easily access it. Hunting in pairs or a group is also recommended to help fend off a bear during an attack.

Bears are very active this time of the year as they enter hyperphagia -- the time when continuously eat to prepare for hibernation.

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“They’re just looking for calories right now,” explained Lemon. “This is the time of year when they’re trying to put on weight as they can because they don’t do much over the winter. So, they need to have all of those fat stores to carry them through.”

Hunters should take care to quickly field dress any animal they shoot and move the carcass well away from the gut pile.

“Hang the carcass in a tree at least 10 feet off the ground if you can,” said Lemon. “If you can’t put it out someplace in the open where you can see it from quite a distance.”

Homeowners should also take precautions around their property by making sure bears aren’t tempted by things like trash, compost with fruit and vegetables or pet food.

Click here for more information about how to “Be Bear Aware” in the Montana backcountry.