October 6, 2023

Regionwide – FWP has been receiving reports of black bears in and around homes getting into domestic fruit trees, garbage and pulling down bird feeders. Bears are in in hyperphagia. Bears greatly increase the amount of food they eat, upwards of 20,000 calories a day, to put on weight for the winter. While conflicts were fairly quiet all summer, now is a critical time to contain all attractants. Bring in bird feeders, do not put garbage out until the morning of pickup, pick domestic fruit. A bear resistant-electric fence is an effective deterrent around attractants including chicken coops. There are resources available to assist with electric fencing in the area. https://missoulabears.org/bear-aware-education/attractant-management-and-safety/

Road kills have increased as bears move across roadways in their effort to find food. A black bear was hit and killed on Evaro hill. A female and two cubs were killed on I-90 near Rock Creek. A black bear was hit and killed on I-90 bear Clinton and another was killed on Highway 200 near Clearwater Junction.  There have also been reports of mountain lions across region 2. Mountain lions follow deer as they congregate around irrigated fields and lawns.

Blackfoot/Clearwater – Hunters – there have been numerous reports of of grizzly bear activity in Blackfoot and Clearwater. Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Bitterroot – There is verified grizzly bear activity in the river bottom areas between Florence and Lolo. FWP is working with their block management team to distribute bear spray to those hunting in areas between Lolo and Florence. For more information on this program contact FWP at 406-542-5500. There have also been numerous reports of black bears getting into garbage and fruit trees in Lolo and Florence. Please contain your attractants, pick apples and bring in bird feeders. There are multiple reports of several black bear getting into apples in Stevensville. Some reports have misidentified these bears as grizzly bears. At this time FWP has only verified black bear activity in Stevensville. Please contain your attractants, pick apples and bring in bird feeders.

Rattlesnake – There continues to be a lot of black bear activity in the Rattlesnake neighborhoods. There are at least three females with young and multiple lone black bears. There was an unverified report of a grizzly bear but FWP has not been able to confirm a grizzly bear in the area. There are multiple brown phase black bears, including a lighter colored black bear, active in the area. FWP is asking that the individual who reported an encounter with a bear in the Greenough park parking lot please contact FWP at 406-542-5500 to make a report with the bear management team.

Big Flat – A black bear was seen getting into apples. Contain all attractants and pick your fruit.

Clinton – There continues to be both grizzly bear and black bear activity in the area. Contain all attractants, pick fruit and bring in bird feeders.

Potomac – Black bear and grizzly bear activity continues to be high in the area. FWP is working with community to address the human-bear conflicts and does have traps set for a grizzly bear that has been getting into garbage and investigated a chicken coop. There are 20+ black bears getting into garbage and other attractants in the Potomac area. In addition there have been multiple incidents with black bears getting into chicken coops. A black bear got into a chicken coop and goat pen. FWP assisted landowner with temporary electric fence. A 2nd homeowner lost chickens to a black bear. The Blackfoot Challenge assisted with an electric fence. A 3rd chicken coop incident occurred and the landowner installed an electric fence. There are resources available to assist you with bear resistant electric fencing.

October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween! Bears are still active so it is recommended that parents accompany trick or treaters in neighborhoods with ongoing bear activity. This includes but is not limited to the Rattlesnake, Grant Creek, Bonner and Clinton. Keep in mind that while things are slowing down, bears are still active regionwide. Bears love pumpkins so remember to bring those in tonight. While it has been cooler and a bit snowy, do not put out birdfeeders until December 1st.