9 bears trapped, moved

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The busy season for bear management is well under way in Northwest Montana.

Over the past two weeks, Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear conflict biologists have captured and relocated eight grizzly bears from the northeast portion of the Flathead Valley, according to a news release Friday from the state wildlife agency. A ninth was captured in the Yaak.

Three of the grizzly bears were captured north of Columbia Falls; five others were captured east of Montana 206.

The captured grizzlies included a female with two cubs of the year, a female with a yearling, two subadult males and an adult male.

According to Grizzly Bear Management Biologist Tim Manley, the bears were captured for a variety of reasons, including killing chickens, killing a sheep, getting into pig feed, feeding on fruit and an incidental capture while trapping for a black bear.

All of the bears were relocated to more remote sites including Frozen Lake, Spotted Bear, and the Sullivan Creek drainage.

The adult or solitary bears were fitted with radio collars. One of the cubs and a yearling male were fitted with ear-tag transmitters.

October is typically one of the busiest months for grizzly bear conflicts because most of the summer berries are gone and the bears switch to other foods prior to denning.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks will continue to respond to both black bear and grizzly bear conflicts until the bears den up. Most of the bears will den during the month of November.

Manley reminds people to keep attractants unavailable to bears. Attractants include garbage, pet food, livestock grain, fruit, and harvested game animals.

Manley also reminds hunters that is always better to hang a deer or elk in a garage than outside in a tree if you live in or near the forest. If that is not an option, hang the animal at least 10 feet off the ground.

Hunters should process game animals as soon as possible to minimize the potential attraction to bears.

In other grizzly bear news, north of Libby in the remote Yaak Valley, Bear Conflict Biologist Kim Annis captured and relocated a 3-year-old male grizzly bear. 

This bear, which never had been captured before, had killed some chickens. The bear was fitted with a radio collar and released in the upper Big Creek area of the Kootenai National Forest.

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