August 2022

Montana map with region 2

UPDATES: 8/31/2022

Region-wide (FWP Region 2): Recent bear activity indicates there is likely a regionally localized, natural food failure. This includes valley-floor berry crops. Bears are in hyperphagia and seeking other food resources to replace the natural foods they might be having trouble finding. This means they are moving a lot and as a result there have been 8-9 black bears killed on roads in the past couple of weeks.

Bears are also getting into unsecured garbage, bird feeders that are still out, and other human-related food resources. It is very important that you look around your property and secure any attractants now. Do not put garbage out until the morning of pickup or store in a bear-resistant manner or in a stout building until you can take it to the dump. Take down all bird feeders. Pet and livestock feed should be secured in a bear-resistant manner. Pick all domestic fruit as it ripens. Reports have come in of black bears feeding on un-ripened fruit, which may also be indicative of a natural food failure. Bears are active in all the neighborhoods surrounding the Missoula area including Big Flat, Kelley Island, Orchard Homes, Butler Creek, Grant Creek, Rattlesnake, Hellgate Canyon, UM area, Pattee Canyon, South Hills, and Miller Creek.

BLACK BEAR

Hip Strip area of Missoula: FWP caught a young black bear in the Hip Strip area on Tuesday. This bear was relocated and is the second bear caught in this area. FWP believes there is one more bear active in the area.

Southgate Triangle area: A black bear is active in the area. FWP is aware and monitoring for this bear.

University of Montana: A black bear was reported on campus this afternoon (Wednesday 8/31). There are likely multiple black bears active in the University area to Pattee Canyon.

Hellgate Canyon: Multiple black bears are active in the area and near the Kim Williams trail.

Easy Street: There have been multiple reports of black bears getting into dumpsters and feeding on available berries along the river.

Bonner, W. Riverside, Milltown, Clinton, and Rock Creek: Black bears have started to move into these areas to feed on domestic fruit and are getting into unsecured garbage. Please pick fruit and contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner.

Rattlesnake: There are numerous black bears active in the residential areas and more shifting in for the ripening domestic fruit. There is at least one female with young active in the Tom Green area and upstream. FWP is monitoring this activity, doing patrols, and picking up road-killed deer. They are removing the dead deer to avoid conflicts with bears due to the amount of bear activity right now. FWP is also working with a couple of businesses in the neighborhood to secure food-related garbage. Hikers and other recreationists have been encountering bears throughout the recreational area. Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Seeley Lake and Placid Lake: FWP has set traps in Seeley Lake and Placid Lake for black bears that have broken into residences.

Entire Bitterroot: There have been a lot of reports of black bears getting into uncontained garbage and other attractants. A black bear was captured today (Wednesday 8/31) and is being relocated. Pick domestic fruit and contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pickup. Bring in bird feeders.

GRIZZLY

Seeley Lake: There have been multiple photos of grizzly bears on trail cameras, but no recent conflicts have been reported. Please secure attractants.

Blackfoot: Grizzly bears have been seen near homes, in agricultural fields, and investigating burn barrels. One grizzly attempted to enter an empty building. A group of people also encountered a grizzly bear. They discharged bear spray which resulted in the bear moving away. Bow hunters are getting ready for season. Please be bear aware. There is a lot of grizzly bear activity in lower elevations. Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Bitterroot: FWP is fielding reports of grizzly activity in the Lee Metcalf area and the Carlton Creek area.

MOUNTAIN LION

Region-wide: Reports of mountain lion activity have increased across the region. Deer and elk are moving into irrigated areas as the dry conditions continue. Mountain lions are following their prey.

Seeley Lake: FWP has had reports of mountain lions hunting in or near residential areas. FWP is monitoring this activity.

Rattlesnake: FWP has removed 3-4 deer that had been killed by mountain lions in the residential area.

Grant Creek: FWP has picked up deer that have been killed by mountain lions.

Sweeney Creek: FWP removed a lion kill that a black bear had been feeding on.


8/25/2022

Region-wide: FWP is getting increasing calls on bear activity region-wide. This includes in residential areas in the Bitterroot and around Missoula such as Pattee Canyon, South Hills, Big Flat, Butler Creek, Grant Creek, Rattlesnake, Milltown, Bonner and Clinton. This is the time of year that bears are entering hyperphagia and eating as much food as possible to put on weight for the winter. Bears are making the seasonal shuffle into the valley floors for hawthorns, rose hip, mountain ash, and ripening domestic fruit. Serviceberry is waning in lower elevations and huckleberries have been spotty. Chokecherry is locally sparse but good in some areas. Hawthorn is around 3 weeks out and is looking good. Hawthorn is an important food resource and often found in lower elevations, sometimes near homes. There have been several road-killed black bears as the bears shift to these lower elevations for berries. Unfortunately, they also find garbage and other attractants near highways. FWP is working with several community groups to increase outreach to residents about the importance of containing attractants and preventing conflicts with bears.

BLACK BEAR

Hip Strip: There are likely two to three different black bears active in this area. FWP captured a brown phase black bear that was seen getting into a bird feeder. This bear will be relocated today. FWP will continue to trap to capture all three of these bears with the intent to relocate. Please contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner and put bird feeders away while these bears are active. FWP is working with the city to alert homeless camps that bears are using this area. There is one report of black bears getting into a camp in Hellgate canyon area.

Rattlesnake: Two different bears have entered homes. One black bear was euthanized a couple of weeks ago and FWP euthanized a second bear that had entered a home today. In addition, two black bears have been captured and relocated over the last week. As attractants become secured some black bears may escalate their behavior to find things like garbage and pet food that may have been easy to find in the past. Unfortunately, the outlook is not good for bears that do this since they are often killed. Please continue to secure attractants. Do not put out bird feeders. Store pet and livestock feed inside. Do not put out garbage until the day of pickup. Clean grills and pick domestic fruit. By taking steps like this you help create a safer and more bear smart community for everyone.

GRIZZLY BEAR

Blackfoot/Clearwater: There has been an increasing number of reports of grizzly bear activity in the Clearwater and Blackfoot drainage. This is common this time of year as bears shift into hyperphagia and utilize valley floors for natural food resources. FWP has responded to multiple calls on grizzly bears getting into grain sheds. A male grizzly bear was removed by Wildlife Services after depredating on multiple sheep. There was a report in Seeley Lake of a grizzly bear traveling through a backyard and this bear got into meat scraps at a residence. FWP is investigating.

Potomac: A grizzly bear and several black bears have gotten into garbage at multiple locations. FWP is working with the community to address attractants in the area.

Bitterroot: Two young grizzly bears were seen in the middle of Interstate 90 trying to feed on a dead deer and then moved south of Missoula into the Bitterroot. We previously posted a news article about this activity.


8/4/2022

Region-wide: The huckleberry crop is very patchy throughout Region 2. Some areas are seeing a good crop while other areas have a grim crop. Serviceberries are phenomenal this year and there are a lot of reports of black bears and grizzly bears feeding on serviceberries. Chokecherry and hawthorne berries are coming along nicely and a good crop is expected in late August through October. Bears will continue to take advantage of these natural food sources in and around the urban/wildland interfaces. It is extremely important that communities contain all attractants so that bears do not find garbage, bird feeders, and other attractants. Please carry bear spray and know how to use it when recreating throughout Region 2.

BLACK BEAR

Region-wide: Black bear activity is constant throughout Region 2 with chronic attractant issues. Please contain all attractants in a bear-resistant manner, do not put trash out until the morning of pickup or until you can remove it, and take down all bird feeders, including hummingbird feeders. Keep garage doors closed even if you are home.

Bitterroot Valley: MFWP is fielding a large number of calls of black bear issues throughout the Bitterroot Valley. Please contain all attractants such as garbage, bird feeders, chicken feed, and pet food in a bear-resistant manner.

Blackfoot Valley: There are a lot of issues with black bears getting into uncontained garbage and bird feeders throughout the Blackfoot Valley, especially Potomac, Seeley, and Clearwater Junction. Please contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pickup and remove all bird feeders.

East Missoula/Milltown/Bonner areas: There is a lot of black bear activity in these areas with bears accessing uncontained garbage and bird feeders left out. MFWP is actively working with these communities address these issues to protect both people and bears.

Grant Creek: There are a lot of reports of black bears feeding on serviceberries along the creek. The community in Lower Grant Creek has been vigilant about keeping attractants secured and conflicts are low. On the other hand, the Upper Grant Creek area has persistent issues with bears accessing uncontained garbage. MFWP is working with the neighborhoods in Upper Grant Creek to resolve the situation. Please contain all attractants in a bear-resistant manner and remove all bird feeders.

Huson: MFWP is investigating a black bear that was shot in the area. There are at least six different bears accessing uncontained attractants in and around Huson. MFWP has set a trap due to the ongoing conflicts and is monitoring the situation.

Missoula area: Black bears are feeding on serviceberry throughout the Missoula valley. Contain all attractants in a bear-resistant manner, do not put trash out until the morning of pickup, and take down all bird feeders.

Rattlesnake: There are several bears throughout the Rattlesnake drainage feeding on berries and also accessing uncontained garbage and other attractants. One bear accessed ice boxes and freezers and broke into at least three homes. MFWP is attempting to trap this bear and will remove it if captured. It is recommended when recreating in the Rattlesnake to carry and know how to use bear spray and keep dogs leashed.

Waterworks Hill – Missoula: A black bear was reported on Waterworks Hill. Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

St. Regis-Superior-Haugan areas: There is an upsurge of black bears getting into uncontained garbage in these areas. Serviceberries are plentiful throughout the area, bringing bears down to lower elevations along the river and creeks. Please contain all garbage in a bear-resistant manner and take down bird feeders.

GRIZZLY BEAR

Ovando: A grizzly bear cub was killed by a vehicle on highway 200 near Ovando.

Potomac: There is a medium-sized grizzly bear getting into uncontained garbage in the Potomac Valley. MFWP is working with the community to resolve the issue of uncontained garbage. There is a second, younger grizzly bear feeding on a dead deer in Potomac. There are no issues yet, but MFWP is monitoring.

Rattlesnake Wilderness Area and Clearwater/Blackfoot Drainages: There are lot of grizzly bear reports from hikers and bow hunters scouting in these areas. Please carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Seeley Lake: MFWP is investigating a possible grizzly bear hit by a vehicle in the area. There is a lot of grizzly bear activity throughout the Seeley Lake area with many reporting bears crossing the highway and feeding on berries along the highway. A female with two cubs is attempting to access meat scraps from a local business and MFWP is working with the individual to contain attractants.

MOUNAIN LION

Region-wide: Reports of mountain lion activity throughout Region 2 continue. As it continues to dry out, we can expect to see increased mountain lion activity in and around irrigated pastures where there are deer and elk congregating.

Clearwater Junction: MFWP removed one lion near Clearwater Junction that was emaciated and missing a foot due to a trap.

Missoula Bears