Relocated grizzly in trouble... again

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A grizzly bear that recently was moved from the Lincoln area to the North Fork Flathead drainage has showed up for trouble again, this time in a neighborhood about 10 miles north of Whitefish off U.S. 93.

The bear, a 2-year-old male weighing 150 pounds, was released in the lower Coal Creek area on July 22, but it managed to cross the Whitefish Divide and move south, turning up at the home of Carol Mystic in the Tamarack Creek area just four days later.

Mystic’s husband heard a noise on the front porch at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday. When he opened the door, he saw the bear eating dog food just a few feet away.

“He just kind of stepped back and shut the door,” Mystic said.

The couple contacted Tim Manley, grizzly bear management specialist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, who responded by setting up a culvert trap on their property.

Manley said it was the same bear that was captured in Lincoln, and he actually got his first call on it on Wednesday.

The bear had been tending to a deer block made of corn and molasses, which “is like candy for bears,” Manley said. The deer block was taken in, and the moved about two miles south to Tamarack Creek.

Mystic saw the bear Thursday night when she came home from work.

“It was just kind of rutting around the yard,” she said. “My husband scared it off but it went to the neighbors and laid down on their lawn.”

As of Friday afternoon, the baited trap had yet to lure in the bear.

“Obviously, he’s a little smarter the second time around because he hasn’t gone near the trap,” said Mystic, adding that the bear is not aggressive, “but you can definitely tell it’s not afraid of people.”

That kind of behavior got the attention of Jamie Jonkel, a state grizzly bear management specialist who covers the Lincoln area.

Jonkel said the bear was mostly eating clover near homes but it did get into some bird seed, one bag of garbage and several hundred pounds of water-damaged winter wheat.

That prompted the decision to trap the bear and relocate it to the North Fork.

Reporter Jim Mann may be reached at 758-4407 or by email at jmann@dailyinterlake.com.

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