State wildlife officials have been busy this spring and the activity picked up recently with another grizzly bear death investigation and two bear relocations.
According to Dillon Tabish, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks information and education specialist for Region 1, the agency responded to a report of a dead grizzly bear in the Coram area June 9. The male grizzly bear was estimated at 2 1/2 years old. Officials couldn’t comment on the cause of death.
Information was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is conducting the investigation.
The wildlife agency has also moved two grizzlies since June 4 to the North Fork area. A male grizzly bear captured northwest of Columbia Falls on June 5 was released later that day in a remote location near the U.S.-Canadian border.
Reports of a grizzly bear in the area north of Highway 40 were also investigated. The bear had attempted to eat chicken feed near a residence. Fish, Wildlife and Parks set three culvert traps in the area and captured the bear and fitted it with a GPS radio collar. The bear, estimated to be 2 1/2 years old and weighing approximately 240 pounds, did not have any prior conflicts.
A male grizzly bear in Conrad was captured June 4 and was moved the following day to Coal Creek State Forest in the North Fork. The grizzly was estimated to be 3 1/2 years old and 373 pounds. It was moving in and around Conrad, including onto a local golf course. Fish, Wildlife and Parks fitted the bear with a GPS radio collar for future monitoring. It also did not have any prior conflicts.
When responding to a conflict, Fish, Wildlife and Parks says it follows guidelines associated with the incident that inform an appropriate action. These factors include the potential human safety threats, the intensity of the conflict and the bear’s history of conflicts.
Northwest Montana is bear country with abundant populations of grizzlies and black bears. Bears are active in springtime and residents are asked to please secure attractants around their properties. Recreationists are urged to be “Bear Aware” and follow precautionary steps and tips to prevent conflicts.
Residents can report conflicts with wildlife to their regional FWP offices. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.
Reporter Scott Shindledecker can be reached at (406) 758-4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.