October 2019

UPDATES: October 21, 2019

BLACK BEAR

Region-wide: There were multiple black bears in the Missoula area in trees over the weekend. These bears are using trees to rest during the day and will usually move on during the night. Do not approach black bears in trees. Crowds of people are stressful to bears. Please leave bears that are in trees alone.

Downtown: A bear that was reported on the northeast side of downtown Missoula ended up at St. Patrick’s Hospital on Saturday where it drew a huge crowd of people and police. The crowd cornered and agitated the bear while it was likely trying to get back to the river. FWP wardens responded, disbanded the crowd, and the bear climbed a tree. The next morning the bear had moved on, likely back to the river.

UM golf course: There was a black bear in a tree on the west end of the UM golf course this weekend. Please move on and do not gather around bears in trees. This will allow the bear to also move on when it feels safe to do so.

South Hills: A black bear was reported in the Moose Can Gully area over the weekend. It was likely the same bear that was in a tree in the area that drew a crowd of people. When a bear is in a tree it is best not to congregate near the tree as this is very stressful for the bear. Please move on when a bear is in a tree which will allow the bear to move on when it feels safe to do so. Please secure all attractants in a bear-resistant manner.

Rattlesnake: There are multiple black bears active in the Rattlesnake feeding on domestic fruit and unfortunately finding uncontained garbage. Three bears were captured and relocated from the same location as the bear that was euthanized last week. The bear that was euthanized exhibited behavior that may indicate intentional feeding by someone in the area. It is illegal to intentionally feed bears and can cause bears to become food conditioned and habituated to human activity. This can be dangerous for both people and bears. Do not intentionally feed bears! FWP is continuing to monitor bear activity in the area. Please secure all attractants in a bear-resistant manner.

The photos with this update are all from the Rattlesnake and courtesy of residents in the area. The bear with the white patch was the one that was euthanized due to its habituated behavior. These behaviors included entering garages, walking through hallways in an apartment complex and approaching people on multiple occasions. The other three were relocated because FWP was unsure which one broke into a garage in the area. The garage damage photos are also included. FWP is monitoring this situation as the bear that broke into the garage may not have been one of the ones relocated. 

Black bear in the Rattlesnake that was euthanized. Photo courtesy Rattlesnake resident.
Black bear in the Rattlesnake that was euthanized. Photo courtesy Rattlesnake resident.
Black bear in the Rattlesnake that was euthanized. Photo courtesy Rattlesnake resident.
Damaged door in the Rattlesnake. Photo courtesy of Rattlesnake resident.
Damaged door in the Rattlesnake. Photo courtesy of Rattlesnake resident.

October 18, 2019

BLACK BEAR

Rattlesnake: The Rattlesnake area is still seeing a high amount of black bear activity. There have been multiple black bears feeding on domestic fruit and getting into unsecured garbage. FWP captured and euthanized a black bear that had tried to enter a home, approached people on multiple occasions, was walking through outdoor hallways in an apartment complex, had entered garages, and was leaning against windows. In addition, multiple black bears have broken into garages in the same area. FWP captured an additional black bear and relocated it. A female with a yearling was in a tree by the school. There are multiple bears feeding on domestic fruit in all areas of the Rattlesnake. Pick your fruit and bring in bird feeders. Contain all garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pick up.

Miller Creek: A black bear was seen in the area.

South Hills: A black bear was seen in a residential area. This bear was likely moving through feeding on domestic fruit. Contain all garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pick up. Bring in bird feeders.

Grant Creek: There are multiple black bears in the lower Grant Creek area. Bears have been seen feeding on domestic fruit, pulling down bird feeders, and getting into uncontained garbage. Please bring in bird feeders and do not put garbage out until the morning of pick up.

Clinton/Rock Creek: A black bear has been getting into garbage in the area. Please make sure to properly latch or close bear-resistant containers and store all garbage in a bear-resistant manner.

Bitterroot: Black bears have been feeding on domestic apples. There have been a couple of reports of bears getting into garbage. Bring in bird feeders and store garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pick up.

St. Regis: There are multiple black bears getting into garbage in the area. FWP installed a bear-resistant electric fence around school dumpsters.

Ninemile: Residents have been seeing black bears feeding on apples.

Seeley Lake: Multiple black bears have been getting into uncontained garbage. There was one report of a grizzly bear getting into a dumpster. This dumpster is being replaced with a bear-resistant dumpster. Residents have seen a lot of black bear and grizzly bear activity, especially on the west side (Boy Scout road area).

GRIZZLY BEAR

Blackfoot: A grizzly bear tried to enter a barn. FWP is working with the owner to install an electric fence.

Blackfoot and Clearwater drainages: Landowners have been seeing multiple grizzly bears feeding in crop fields. Hunters are also seeing signs of grizzly bear activity.


October 7, 2019

GRIZZLY BEAR

Lolo Pass area: FWP has received reports of grizzly bear activity. FWP continues to monitor a young adult radio-collared male that traveled south from the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem.

Clearwater Junction: A grizzly bear got into a chicken coop. Electric fence can be effective at preventing grizzly bears from accessing chicken coops. FWP loaned the homeowner Critter Gitters. Critter Gitters is a device that makes a loud, startling noise and is triggered by an animal walking past it. FWP Region 2 has some available for sale.

Blackfoot and Clearwater: Bowhunters have reported grizzly bear activity.

Deerlodge and Little Blackfoot: Bowhunters have reported grizzly bear activity.

BLACK BEAR

Region-wide: Black bears are keying into apples across the region, especially as hawthorn and huckleberry wane. Bears will also shift to fall berries like red osier dogwood, mountain ash, elderberry, and snowberry. FWP has received numerous calls about bears in apple trees and unfortunately, many of these bears are also getting into garbage.

Rattlesnake: Black bear activity is very high in the Rattlesnake. The black bears are keying into domestic fruit, but are also finding unsecured garbage. Contain your garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pickup. As a reminder it is illegal to actively feed bears and deer. FWP is investigating current reports of this occurring in the Rattlesnake. FWP set a trap for a family group, but did not catch this family group. FWP also made arrangements for apples to be picked at this site.

Black bears in a tree in the Rattlesnake neighborhood.
Photo credit: Sarah Stivers

Lolo Hot Springs area: Black bears continue to come into the area and have gotten into garbage. This includes one family group and at least one individual bear. FWP is working with the facility to secure attractants.

Lower Grant Creek: There are multiple black bears feeding on the last of the hawthorn. Please contain all attractants in a bear-resistant manner.

Seeley Lake: FWP captured and relocated a non-target black bear while attempting to capture a black bear that had been getting into vehicles.

MOUNTAIN LION

Stevensville: A mountain was killed by a landowner after a depredation.

Bitterroot: Wildlife Services is attempting to capture a mountain lion that killed sheep in the Bitterroot.


October 2, 2019

Region-wide: If you are recreating, hunting, and/or living in bear country know your bears. Grizzly bears can be anticipated anywhere in Western Montana. FWP has received various reports of grizzly bear activity from Lolo/Highway 12, St. Regis, to Drummond, Butte and Georgetown Lake areas. While not all reports are verified, it is a good reminder to know your bears, carry bear spray, and know how to use it. Visit this FWP site for more information.

BLACK BEAR

Rattlesnake: There is a high pulse of bear activity in the Rattlesnake. This includes multiple family groups and a few lone bears feeding on apples. Please pick fruit and contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pick up. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still leaving garbage out all week all over the Rattlesnake and bears are finding it.  Animal Control is patrolling the Rattlesnake and has issued multiple tickets. Also as a reminder, it is illegal to purposefully feed bears and deer.

Grant Creek: A black bear got into garbage at a hotel. Republic Services is replacing the dumpster with a bear-resistant one.  

West of Russell and Broadway streets: A black bear was seen in town along the river.

St. Regis: There have been multiple reports of black bears accessing garbage. Please contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner.

Bitterroot: FWP has received numerous reports of black bears getting into domestic fruit and garbage. Please contain all attractants in a bear-resistant and pick fruit.

GRIZZLY BEAR

Blackfoot and Clearwater drainages:  Black bear hunters, bowhunters, upland game bird hunters, and fishermen continue to report grizzly bear activity. Always carry bear spray and know how to use it.

MOUNTAIN LION

Pattee Canyon/Barmeyer Trail: A mountain lion was seen on the Barmeyer trail. Mountain lions can be found throughout the foothills of the Missoula basin. Please be aware of your surroundings and carry bear spray when recreating in bear and lion country. Wearing headphones while trail running is not recommended in bear and lion country.

Miller Creek: FWP hazed a mountain lion out of a residential area (seen in photo below).