MONTANA FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS
Keep your yard bear resistant
Bear activity is picking up in many Montana neighborhoods, and FWP is
asking residents to keep bear attractants contained. Bears are often
drawn to populated areas by unsecured garbage cans, the smell of pet
food, bird feeders and dirty barbecue grills.
“When bears encounter easy neighborhood food sources, they often
have a hard time returning to natural food,” said Jeff Hagener, director
of FWP in Helena. “The only solution is to keep bears from becoming
interested in your backyard. A conditioned bear will travel miles to get
back to a garbage can.”
Hagener suggests taking the following precautions:
– Keep pet food inside.
– Clean dirty barbeque grills.
– Take down bird feeders.
– Make sure the compost pile is not laden with food scraps.
– Keep garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or in a secure building
until trash collection.
Tips for bear-safe outings
When recreating in bear country:
– Inquire about recent bear activity in the area.
– Carry and know how to use bear pepper spray.
– Let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
– Travel in groups of three or more during daylight hours.
– Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and
turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.
– Keep children close.
– Talk, sing or use other means to make your presence known, especially
stream-side or in a thick forest with low visibility.
– Be cautious in areas where berry patches or other natural foods could
– If you see a bear, don’t approach it; respect the animal’s space and
When camping in bear country:
– Camp away from trails and areas where you see bear sign.
– Keep a clean camp at all times. Keep tents and sleeping bags free of
– Avoid cooking smelly foods.
– Hang all food, trash and other odorous items well away from camp and
at least 10 feet above ground and four feet from any vertical support,
or store in a bear-proof container, or within a portable electric fence.
Livestock feed should be stored in the same way.
– Don’t sleep in the same clothes you wore while cooking or eating.