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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Officials renewing safety warnings in bear country

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Posted at 4:52 PM, Aug 01, 2023

Officials are renewing warnings of all of Montana being bear country.

Historically, grizzly bears roamed the area of the Shield River, but not for decades. That is until recently. A landowner in the area was able to capture a photo of a grizzly. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks now knows where it came from.

“The bear that was here in the Shields River was seen several times. It was a sub-adult male. We were able to obtain hair samples of this bear and submit them for genetic analysis. That analysis has been completed and did show that this bear came from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” FWP’s Morgan Jacobsen said.

That bear caused no damage and has not been seen since.

“I really think it just illustrates the need for awareness and developing good habits for recreating and just being in bear country because that’s what Montana is," Jacobsen said.

‘We’ve never seen a bear here before’ no longer means much. We all need to take a new approach to bear safety anywhere in Montana.

“Avoiding negative encounters with bears is easier than dealing with such conflicts and what we do matters. Taking steps like being prepared when recreating, and managing attractants, those things go a long way toward keeping people safe and keeping bears safe. It also allows you to have an enjoyable experience while you’re in bear country,” Jacobsen said. “That looks like carrying bear spray, knowing how to use it, traveling in groups whenever possible, and making noise to make your presence known to avoid surprise close encounters with grizzly bears.”