Fall is rapidly approaching and bears are increasingly active across the state. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks captured two grizzly bears this week in the Flathead Valley and moved them to remote sections of the Flathead National Forest near the Bob Marshall Wilderness. FWP Regional Information and Education Program Manager Dillon Tabish explains.

“We had a 2-year-old male grizzly bear that was captured off Conrad Drive near the Flathead River east of Kalispell,” Tabish said. “It had gotten into some chokecherry trees. The following day we had a 2-to-3-year-old female grizzly bear that was captured off Farm to Market Road near the Stillwater River west of Whitefish. She was also eating from some chokecherry trees on private property. We wanted to move those bears before they got food conditioned and potentially got into trouble.”

A food-conditioned animal actively seeks unnatural food rewards, has lost its natural foraging behavior, and can be dangerous. According to Tabish, bears are increasingly active in the fall months seeking food before denning season.

“If you do have fruit trees in your yard, pick up the fruit,” Tabish said. “If you can, limb it up a little high. That will keep bears from coming into your yard. Nine times out of ten, the reason bears and other wildlife are coming into your yard is because there is a food source that is attracting them. If you can remove those or secure them, whether it is with electric fencing or inside a closed shed, you are really going to increase your chances of not having a bear on your property.”

Tabish also urges folks to remove or secure garbage, bird feeders and bird seed. Residents are encouraged to report bear activity as soon as possible.