September 2022

UPDATE: 9/23/2022

Region-wide: Region 2 Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP) is overwhelmed with bear calls and is having to prioritize the most urgent needs. These urgent calls often involve depredations of livestock, bears entering home sites, bears causing structural damage, and bears exhibiting concerning/unusual behavior. Natural foods are scarce and bears seem to be exhibiting extreme behavior. This is indicating they are so desperate for food that they are complacent to human activity and are out at all times of day to feed on whatever they can find. Most calls coming in are bears in domestic fruit trees, grazing on green grass on lawns, and getting into garbage.

Groups that assist with apple picking are also overwhelmed with calls, but are trying to continue to help. If you can pick your own fruit, please do. If you have not already, please take down bird feeders, contain garbage in a bear-resistant manner, pick all fruit, store all pet food inside, and secure all other attractants in a bear-resistant manner. This is likely going to continue until the snow flies and maybe even beyond.

At Missoula Bears we are also overwhelmed with reports and are triaging urgent ones to FWP as quick as we can. This is great place to get information to FWP, but for urgent issues please call FWP directly at 406-542-5500 and please be patient. This is a very challenging year and FWP is working overtime to address all the calls coming in. In the last three weeks, over 20 black bears have been hit by cars and killed. Republic Services has been working closely with FWP and have been providing, often on short notice, multiple bear-resistant lids for dumpsters and bear-resistant dumpsters for sites with the greatest need.

BLACK BEAR

Rattlesnake: There are over 40 different black bears keying into home sites for backyard residential fruit. Many of these bears are also getting into uncontained garbage. Unfortunately, there continues to be a lot of garbage unsecured in the Rattlesnake, including at apartment complexes. It is important that garbage is secured in a bear-resistant manner until the morning of pickup.

University of Montana: A black bear was trapped at the M trail. This bear was relocated.

Hip Strip: FWP has trapped and relocated 4 black bears in the Hip Strip area. FWP also had to dart a black bear that was near Boyce Lumber and this bear was relocated.

Southgate Triangle: A second black bear was trapped and relocated out of this area.

East Missoula/Bonner/Milltown/Turah: There is a lot of bear activity in these areas and a lot of bears getting into garbage. Garbage needs to be contained in a bear-resistant manner. FWP is prioritizing urgent situations and traps have been set on multiple occasions.

South Hills: A black bear was trapped and relocated for getting into chickens. Bear-resistant electric fence can be a very effective way to secure chickens and chicken coops.

Grant Creek: Incidents with garbage are limited in this area. However, there is high bear activity so keep up the good work Grant Creek and keep attractants secured.

Fort Missoula/Big Flat/Hayes Creek: There have been multiple bear reports largely of black bears in apples. There is also a lot of black bear activity near Buckhouse Bridge, including bears getting into garbage.

Bitterroot/Lolo: There continues to be a lot of reports of black bears in the area. Please contain all attractants.

Huson/Alberton/Frenchtown down to St. Regis: There is a lot of bear activity along the valley floors near the Clark Fork. Contain attractants in a bear-resistant manner.

Superior: A black bear was trapped and relocated out of this area.

Seeley Lake: Several bears were relocated, and one was removed for breaking and entering a home.

Georgetown Lake:  A black bear was removed for frequenting campgrounds.

GRIZZLY BEAR

Florence/Lolo: FWP is preemptively trapping for the grizzly bears in this area in order to collar and relocate these bears. We posted a news article yesterday about this.

Blackfoot: A lone grizzly bear got into chicken coops and rabbits. An electric fence was placed and traps were set, but the bear has since left the area. FWP is monitoring.

Helmville: A grizzly bear broke into a grain shed and also got into domestic fruit. An electric fence was placed and FWP is monitoring the situation. Earlier in the month, Wildlife Services captured a grizzly that killed a calf. This bear was relocated.

MOUNTAIN LION

Region-wide: There continue to be reports of mountain lion activity near irrigated lawns and crop fields where deer are frequenting. Wildlife Services has responded to some depredations.

Missoula Bears