October 2022

UPDATE: 10/31/22

BLACK BEAR

Happy Halloween! For those living in the areas with bear activity, parents should accompany children during trick or treating.  Please remember to bring in pumpkins. Bears and deer love to eat pumpkins!

Region-wide: There have been more than 15 orphaned cubs region-wide. Some of this could be due to the food failure and females leaving cubs. Apples are waning but bears are still actively seeking what fruit trees they can find, including crab apples, cherries, and mountain ash. There have been at least 10 additional road-killed black bear.

West Riverside/Milltown/Piltsville: Black bear activity remains high in these areas and bears are frequently getting into uncontained garbage. Republic Services has been placing bear-resistant dumpsters in the area. FWP has set a trap for a black bear that has attempted to get into homes.

Rattlesnake: There are multiple black bears still active and feeding on plums, pears, and remaining apples. Please do not put out bird feeders and continue to contain attractants.

Grant Creek: There are a couple of black bears active in the area and one black bear entered a vehicle.

Evaro Hill: There have been reports of black bears getting into uncontained garbage. Please do not put garbage out until the morning of pickup and/or store it in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pickup.

Upper Clark Fork: There have been continual issues with black bears getting into uncontained garbage. A black bear was shot getting into garbage. FWP is working with the business to contain the garbage in a bear-resistant manner. WS captured and removed a black bear that got into an electrified bee yard on multiple occasions.

Potomac: There continues to be black bear activity in the area. Please contain all attractants.

Bitterroot: There have been multiple reports of black bears getting into garbage. FWP is attempting to capture a bear in the Hamilton area.

Seeley Lake: A black bear entered a vehicle for groceries. There continues to be black bear activity in the area. Please contain all attractants.

GRIZZLY BEAR

Blackfoot/Clearwater: Residents, hunters and recreationists have reported grizzly bear activity. There have been 2-3 incidents of hunters encountering bears at close range. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. FWP attempted to capture a grizzly bear that broke into sheds. There have been reports of grizzly bears getting into creep feeders and an incident of a grizzly bear getting into a grain shed.

Big Hole: A grizzly bear was seen feeding on a cow carcass.

Deerlodge Valley: A grizzly bear was seen feeding on a cow carcass. FWP removed the carcass.


UPDATE: 10/7/2022

Region-wide: Region 2 Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is overwhelmed with bear calls and continues to prioritize the most urgent needs. These urgent calls often involve depredations of livestock, bears entering home sites, bears causing structural damage to homes and vehicles, and bears exhibiting concerning/unusual behavior. FWP is unable to respond to less urgent calls at this time. Please continue to report bears on the missoulabears.org website and call FWP with urgent issues directly at 406-542-5500.

Hunters be bear aware. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. FWP has already fielded multiple reports of hunters observing or encountering grizzly bears. There have been 4-5 incidents of bow hunters encountering grizzly bears at close range.

BLACK BEAR

Region-wide: Due to the scarcity of natural foods, such as berry crops, black bears throughout western Montana are in the valleys feeding on domestic fruit trees. Bear activity is very high in all valleys. FWP is inundated with calls about bears breaking tree limbs and damaging fruit trees. They are not able to respond to these calls at this time. To reduce bears in your fruit trees, please pick and remove your fruit or reach out to a group for, such as the Great Bear Foundation, for picking assistance. Please remember this Halloween season that pumpkins are considered a delicious food for lots of wildlife and could bring bears onto your porch. If you are in an area with bear activity this time of year, consider waiting to put pumpkins out or bring them in at night.

FWP has trapped and relocated several black bears in Region 2 and had to euthanize a few black bears due to being food-conditioned. There have been multiple incidents of homeowners shooting black bears in the region. Over the last month, there have been a high number of road-killed black bears and an upsurge in orphaned cubs. At this time, FWP is not capturing and rehabilitating any cubs.

Missoula Valley: Throughout the entire Missoula Valley black bear activity is very high with an estimated 150-200 bears in the valley.

Rattlesnake/Milltown/Bonner/East Missoula: Black bear activity is very high for these areas and most are feeding on domestic fruit. Unfortunately, some are also finding unsecured garbage and other attractants. Please contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pick up and remove all bird feeders.

South Hills, Pattee Canyon, Miller Creek, Butler Creek, Big Flat: Bear activity is currently high in these areas. Please pick and remove fruit and contain other attractants like garbage. Chickens and other attractants can be effectively secured with bear-resistant electric fence.

Frenchtown and the Wye: There are good hawthorn berry crops in the Frenchtown area and around the Wye. As a result, there are a lot of bears in these areas feeding on this natural food source. Please contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pick up and remove all bird feeders.

Bitterroot Valley: Black bears are very active throughout the Bitterroot Valley and are feeding on domestic fruit trees. In Florence, a black bear was trapped and relocated. Store all attractants in a bear-resistant manner and pick and remove fruit.

Anaconda: Several black bears were trapped and relocated. Please contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pick up and remove all bird feeders.

Ninemile: A black bear that broke into a house was trapped and relocated by FWP.

Potomac: FWP had to remove a family group that killed pigs in the Potomac area.

Helmville: A black bear was trapped and relocated.

GRIZZLY BEAR

Region-wide: FWP has fielded multiple reports of grizzly bears in irrigated pastures and in riparian areas near river systems and side drainages. There have been 4-5 incidents of bow hunters encountering grizzly bears at close range as well as many reports of hunters observing grizzly bears. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Temporary electric fencing can be used to contain hunting camps.

Blackfoot and Clearwater Drainages: There have been observations of grizzly bears throughout the Blackfoot and Clearwater drainages.

Helmville: There have been multiple reports of grizzly bears in Helmville eating domestic fruit in and around town and outlying ranches.

Ninemile: There was a report of a grizzly bear in the Ninemile Valley. FWP is monitoring.

Seeley Lake: There have been reports of grizzly bears at the edge of Seeley Lake on several occasions. FWP is monitoring.

MOUNTAIN LION

Region-wide: FWP is receiving a lot of calls about mountain lions, such as people finding mountain lion kills and sightings along property edges. Where you see elk and deer you can also expect to see mountain lions, especially around agricultural land, heavily irrigated crop fields, and residential areas with a lot of urban deer.

Missoula Bears