Tag Archives: human-bear conflict

Bears vs bikes: Who’s at risk?

A biker on Glacier Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road photographs a black bear, May 2016 - Butch Larcombe
A biker on Glacier Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road photographs a black bear, May 2016 – Butch Larcombe

Here’s a pretty good article by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian on the issue of ‘high speed recreation’ in backcountry areas. Despite the title, it’s not just about mountain bikes . . .

Two weeks before a Kalispell man died in a bicycle collision with a bear near Glacier National Park, an ultra-marathon runner in New Mexico was mauled by a bear she encountered on a New Mexico trail…

On Thursday, an estimated 2,500 people paid their respects to Brad Treat at a memorial service in Kalispell’s Legends Stadium on Thursday. The 38-year-old Forest Service law enforcement officer died on June 29 after colliding with a bear on his bicycle while pedaling on a trail near Halfmoon Lake.

That same Thursday in Missoula, grizzly bear advocates were warning U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator Wayne Kasworm about the dangers posed by high-speed recreation in bear habitat.

Read more . . .

Take care as bears begin to stir

Grizzly bear sow with three cubs - NPS photo
Grizzly bear sow with three cubs – NPS photo

A springtime reminder from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks . . .

With a mild end of the winter, some of Montana’s hibernating black bears and grizzly bears are beginning to stir.

Adult males usually emerge first from winter dens in mid-March, but some bears have been sighted in Yellowstone National Park. When bears emerge from their dens they are physically depleted and food is a priority.

Bears are often tempted to go where raccoons and domestic dogs are getting into garbage. If these animals are already causing problems nearby, consider it an early warning that food attractants are available and need to be removed.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ bear experts stress that conflict prevention steps can greatly reduce the chances of attracting black and grizzly bears.

FWP recommends bear resistant bins in communities and on ranches; electric fence systems to protect bee yards and sheep bedding grounds; random redistribution of livestock carcasses each spring; and educational programs in schools and communities.

FWP’s Be Bear Aware website at fwp.mt.gov is an easy way for homeowners and landowners to assess what they need to do now to prevent bear conflicts. Go there for tips and tools on obtaining and using bear spray, safe camping and hiking, access to bear resistant products and a guide to other items that attract bears to a property.

Bear-proof storage getting better; still room for improvement

Cinca, May 5, 2015 by W K Walker

Here’s an update on the current state of bear-proof storage. I particularly like the bit about “Kobuk the Destroyer” . . .

An unexpected problem has developed in the world of bear-resistant food storage testing: The grizzly bears responsible for tearing containers to shreds are getting bored or depressed.

“With some of these containers, the bears are no longer interested in testing,” U.S. Forest Service national carnivore program leader Scott Jackson told the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee meeting in Missoula on Tuesday. “For the metal cases that are bolted to the ground that they can’t tip over and knock around, that’s becoming more and more of a problem. They just lick the bait off the outside and leave them alone. The manufacturers are kind of left in limbo.”

In a way, that’s a good problem to have. Bear-resistant food storage rules apply to more and more places in the woods as both grizzlies and black bears add human food to their foraging plans. Next summer, floaters who win a coveted permit to spend a week on Montana’s Smith River must pack their steaks and beer in bear-resistant containers.

Read more . . .

Bears are stirring; be ready

A reminder from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks . . .

Some of Montana’s hibernating black bears and grizzly bears are beginning to stir.

Adult males usually emerge first from winter dens in mid-March. When bears emerge from their dens they are physically depleted and food is a priority.

Bears are often tempted to go where raccoons and domestic dogs are getting into garbage. If these animals are already causing problems nearby, consider it an early warning that food attractants are available and need to be removed.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ bear experts stress that conflict prevention steps can greatly reduce the chances of attracting black and grizzly bears.

FWP recommends bear resistant bins in communities and on ranches; electric fence systems to protect bee yards and sheep bedding grounds; random redistribution of livestock carcasses each spring; and educational programs in schools and communities.

FWP’s Be Bear Aware website at fwp.mt.gov is an easy way for homeowners and landowners to assess what they need to do now to prevent bear conflicts. Go there for tips and tools on obtaining and using bear spray, safe camping and hiking, access to bear resistant products and a guide to other items that attract bears to a property.

Young ‘conflict bears’ not always chronic offenders

Young nuisance bears aren’t especially likely to re-offend after relocation . . .

Yearling grizzly bears busted for getting into trouble and relocated are not any more likely to offend again than bears with a clean rap sheet.

“If a bear gets in trouble, it doesn’t mean it’s a chronic offender,” said Mark Haroldson, who conducted a study for the U.S. Geological Survey in Bozeman.

Although the research is still preliminary, Haroldson said the data came partly from information collected in the late 1970s and 1980s as bear managers sought to reverse the decline in grizzly bear populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by separating young bears from conflict mothers. The thought was that the mothers might be teaching the yearlings bad behavior.

Read more . . .

Bears are starting to get up and moving

It’s spring in Montana and the bears are beginning to stir . . .

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks biologists are reminding folks that bears are awake and people should secure attractants like dog food, bird food, chickens feed and garbage.

FWP bear and lion specialist Erik Wenum caught a 6-year-old, 340-pound male grizzly bear April 6 south of Eureka.

The next day the bear was examined and radio-collared. The grizzly was then released on April 8 in Glacier National Park, assisted by Park personnel in an area seasonally closed due to snow and road conditions. There are no known previous management situations involving this bear.

Read more . . .

Fed is dead: FWP kills three area grizzlies

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks had to kill three nuisance bears in the area recently, including one young female that was dropped off in the Whale Creek area a couple of months ago . . .

State wildlife officials say they captured and killed three grizzly bears after the animals damaged property at homes in the Flathead and Tobacco valleys between Oct. 28 and Nov. 2. All of the bears were drawn to attractants like food for livestock and pets.

Tim Manley, grizzly bear management specialist with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, said the bears had become food-conditioned and had a history of conflicts that caused significant property damage and, in one case, “lots of dead chickens,” according to a press release.

Conflicts between bears and humans have been relatively infrequent in the region this year, Manley said, but last month brought an uptick in problem bears as officials trapped for grizzlies in the Farm-to-Market, Blankenship, Columbia Falls and Pinkham Creek areas. In each case, the problems started with human attractants.

Read more . . .

Grizzly bear taste for chicken makes for conflicts — and dead bears

We mentioned this last year, but it bears repeating: Human-bear conflict is not just caused by garbage, dog food and bird feeders. There is a growing problem these days with unprotected chicken coops. The New York Times ran a story a couple of weeks ago . . .

Longing for fresh eggs, Levi and Nauni Griffith began raising chickens in their backyard. They started with a few, and eventually had 116. Until late last summer, that is, when a grizzly sow and her cub, filling the night with fearful growling, got in among the shrieking chickens and then lumbered off, leaving bits of 99 birds behind…

In northwestern Montana, as in much of the country, more people are keeping chickens. And bears of all kinds are developing a taste for poultry that lures them into populated areas, presenting a dangerous situation for both people and, especially, for bears.

Continue reading . . .

New bear-resistant trash cans rolled out on Flathead Reservation

Following extensive testing, they’re introducing some pretty clever, bear-resistant trash totes on the Flathead Reservation . . .

Bill Foust admits it took him a little while to figure out how – with his hands full, anyway – to open the lid on his trash cans.

Bears still haven’t mastered it.

And that’s a good thing, considering Foust and his wife Barb live along the front of the Mission Mountains, where bears and humans sometimes have their difficulties coexisting.

The Fousts, who haven’t been able to bear-proof trash cans on their own, have been testing two new specially made bear-resistant containers for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Continue reading . . .

Researcher says bear spray stops angry grizzlies better than guns

More evidence in support of bear spray. Also, read to the end to find our very own Frank Vitale’s bear spray story.

Bear spray doesn’t supply “brains in a can” to survive a grizzly attack, but it appears to work a lot better than spraying bullets.

That’s the conclusion researchers presented to more than 300 bear experts at the Fourth International Human-Bear Conflict Workshop in Missoula last week.

University of Calgary bear expert Steve Herrero was involved in two separate studies that looked at the effectiveness of bear spray and firearms in bear attacks . . .

Continue reading . . .