Biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks say they have confirmed a grizzly bear sighting on a ranch in the northern Big Belt Mountains. The sighting is the second in the Big Belts this summer and FWP believes it is two separate bears.
The first sighting was 3-year-old subadult male northwest of White Sulphur Springs, confirmed through photos taken by FWP trail cameras.
The second sighting was confirmed from a video of the bear on private land in the area between the Missouri River and Hound Creek, south of Cascade. The bear also is a subadult male.
No conflicts with the bear have been reported.
This is the third grizzly bear sighting this year in areas the species has not been present for, perhaps, a century, the FWP noted in a press release Friday.
In June, a pair of grizzlies apparently came down the Teton River from the Rocky Mountain Front and ended up near Stanford, east of Great Falls. The young bears were captured and euthanized after they preyed on livestock.
In recent years, bears have traveled the river corridors – Sun, Marias, Dearborn and Teton – east from the Rocky Mountain Front looking for natural foods. But the animals can also be attracted to unprotected opportunistic foods, like grain, livestock feed, beehives, livestock, garbage and pet food.
As grizzly bear numbers in the western half of Montana continue to increase, their range is expanding, the FWP release stated. It’s possible for grizzlies to be found anywhere in the western half of Montana, from the mountains, to river corridors, to even the prairie regions.