The first frost of the year has come. The leaves are falling and so are the apples , and that means...bears in the back yard.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim has advice on how to keep your apples, your yard and your family safe by avoiding confrontations with hungry bears.

"Bears are looking to put on weight," Aasheim said. "They're getting serious about getting ready for hibernation. What we recommend is first of all, getting rid of things like bird feeders. Garbage needs to be stored in secure containers that are inside. Fruit trees, that's an interesting one. As that fruit begins to drop, it's a good idea to pick it up off the ground as quick as you can because that entices bears, it's like candy to them."

Aasheim said other items need to be kept indoors, as well.

"The main thing is that any food source is something you're going to have to deal with," he said. "If there are natural berries anywhere that's more difficult, but take care of the things that you can control, natural attractants that are really unnatural food need to be controlled, things like dog food, bird feeders and fruit, those the the most important."

Aasheim said humans should avoid any contact with bears. In other words, leave them alone.

"If you see a bear in your yard, call Fish, Wildlife and Parks," he continued. "You certainly don't want to go out there and run them off. You don't want to put yourself in harms way. You might get between a sow and her cubs and that could be real problematic.The problem is, many of these bears have become habituated, so they're coming back to a place where they've been before. That's the issue."

According to the website Missoula Bears dot org, the last black bear sighting was cataloged on September 9 in the Beavertail area, a grizzly bear near the Seeley Lake High School, and a mountain lion was sighted in Moose Can Gully. Fish Wildlife and Parks personnel were monitoring all three sightings.

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