Hikers, bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts will want to keep an eye open for warning signs in the Gravelly and Madison ranges as a vital bear study begins in mid-June.
Grizzly bears in the Gravelly and Madison Ranges of Montana will be trapped this summer in an effort to monitor the population in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The ongoing efforts are required under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Geological Survey, in conjunction with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, says that pre-baiting and scientific trapping operations are about to begin.
Biologists, with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST), will begin work in southwest Montana beginning June 13th and will continue through July 31st.
Trapping operations can include a variety of activities, but all areas where work is being conducted will have major access points marked with warning signs.
Officials warn that it’s critical that all members of the public heed these signs.
According to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, monitoring of grizzly bear distribution and other activities are vital to the ongoing recovery of grizzlies in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.
In order to attract bears, biologists utilize natural food sources such as fresh road–killed deer and elk.
Potential trapping sites are baited with these natural foods and if indications are that grizzly bears are in the area, culvert traps or foot snares will be used to capture the bears.
Once trapped, the bears are handled in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST.
What to look for when you’re in the area:
Whenever bear trapping activities are being conducted for scientific purposes, the area around the site will be posted with bright warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring.
These signs are posted along the major access points to the trapping site.
Officials say it is important that the public heeds these signs and do not venture into an area that has been posted.
For more information regarding grizzly bear trapping efforts call the IGBST hotline at 406-994-6675.