Reports of bear sightings on the rise in Montana

June 14, 2012GREAT FALLS, MTRecently, reports of bear sightings around north central Montana have been flooding into sheriff’s offices and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Shannon Gabbard recently spotted a grizzly bear and its yearling near Valier along the Rocky Mountain Front. “I was within 300 yards of them, that was close enough for me. It ended up on the east end of the lake to where the dam is, and then I don’t know how it got across the lake from there,” Gabbard said. Not a week went by before another grizzly had wandered into town, he said. Valier residents and officials say the bear came near the post office and walked into residential areas. Valier isn’t the only town seeing mother grizzly bears and yearlings; some have been spotted near Fort Shaw and Simms in recent weeks. Two yearlings managed to slip into a pen and kill two goats near Simms. “We know that the grizzly bear population is growing at an annual rate of 3 to 4 percent,” FWP bear specialist Mike Madel noted. He said grizzlies are moving out of their habitats along the Rocky Mountain front because of population growth. “These female grizzly bears that come out with their litters are teaching their offspring to do the same and they’re learning new habits and habitats. That’s why we’re getting this new movement of females down the Marias R, the Sun River, down the Teton River,” Madel explained. Madel said there’s no sign yet grizzlies are denning at river bottoms farther from the Rocky Mountain front, but it could be possible in the future. –KAJ18
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6 Responses to Reports of bear sightings on the rise in Montana

  1. Dennis E. says:

    A dangerous situation when wildlife start to mingle with humans and especially when it could weigh over a thousand pounds and has offspring. Pos and cons when man encroaches on wildlife habitats.

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  2. Lilia says:

    We are lucky to be able to spend lots of time just outside Bozeman, MT and we have learned to be careful when in wild life territory. But, more importantly, it seems to me that some of the behavior of animals are changing because our climate is changing. This past Winter, was a very warm one for Montana and even the snow pack was not what it normally is. It could well be that they are hunting for food closer to humans, because we (in general) just discard too much..or their behavior is reflecting the changes. Funny story, though, in Bozeman there have been instances where bears have learned to take the lid off hot tubs located in backyards and soak in them for a while…also, some bears have learned what a can of bear maze looks like and when confronted with it, they just turn their heads away…and lots of people still believe that animals are not intelligent! That’s why I’m a vegetarian!

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  3. nanoduck says:

    Never underestimate the bears. They are one of the most powerful and intelligent predators on earth (other than wolves, however their strength lies in pack). The Native Americans respected them as a powerful totem animal for a good reason….they can stand taller than a man and are nearly a thousand pound of solid muscle power. Just one swipe and you are dead.

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  4. manich says:

    Saw a cable documentary recently on grizzlies migrating into black bear areas and digging them up as they hibernate, and eating them.

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