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As late summer and fall approach, there’s no better time to take the steps to be bear aware in Montana. Heading into fall, bears are seeking food as they prepare for hibernation. Bears can be found throughout Montana, with black bears roaming across most of the state, and grizzly bears, predominately in the west, becoming more widespread and roaming into areas that have not been occupied for decades. To encourage residents and nonresidents to be vigilant about the presence of bears September will be Bear Aware Month, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will be hosting several in person and virtual educational events that will feature fun activities, resources, and prizes. Some of the confirmed events so far include:
- Billings, FWP office on 9/14
- Missoula, FWP office on 9/19
- Florence, Florence Fire Hall on 9/20
- Helena, Montana Wild on 9/26
- Butte, Montana Tech on 9/27
For a full, up-to-date list of events and more resources visit fwp.mt.gov/bear-aware. If you are unable to attend the events, or just want to get a head start on preventing bear conflicts follow these bear aware tips:
- Keep garbage, bird feeders, pet food and other attractants put away in a secure building or certified bear-resistant container. Keep garbage in a secure building until the day it is collected. Certified bear-resistant garbage containers are available in many areas.
- Never feed wildlife. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose threats to human safety. It is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
- Carry bear spray and be prepared to use it immediately.
- Travel in groups whenever possible and make casual noise, which can help alert bears to your presence.
- Stay away from animal carcasses, which often attract bears.
- Follow food storage orders from the applicable land management agency.
- If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Leave the area when it is safe to do so.
Think you are already Bear Aware? We have partnered up with Base Camp to bring you the Bear Aware Giveaway. Take the Bear Aware quiz here to enter to win the Bear Aware Month Prize Pack worth $2000.