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FWP will host several 'Bear Aware' forums

Posted at 11:05 AM, Mar 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-06 11:15:12-05

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks will host several public meetings in central Montana in the coming months to discuss the biology and status of bears in the area, along with examples of how to prevent conflicts on the farm and ranch, at home, and when recreating outdoors.

Dates and locations:

  • March 7 – Cascade, Wedsworth Library, 13 Front St North, 6 p.m., electric fence demo and bear spray education
  • March 7 – Valier, Valier High School, 6 p.m., annual update
  • April 16 – Cascade, Wedsworth Library, 13 Front St North, 6 p.m., with a focus on anglers and recreation
  • April 17 - Winifred School, 7 p.m.
  • April 21 - Choteau, Teton Bear Smart event at Choteau WeatherBeater 3rd Ave SE, 2 – 4 p.m., electric fence demo and bear spray education
  • May 16 – Fairfield, Ambulance Training Center, 15 1st St SW, 6:30 p.m.
  • May 29 – Bynum, Dinosaur Center, 5 p.m.

“As grizzly bears continue expanding their range in central Montana, FWP wants to engage with more communities and outdoor recreationists to increase human safety and conflict prevention awareness,” said Chad White, bear management specialist in Choteau, in a news release.

Grizzly bear and cubs run through Ulm

Wesley Sarmento, Conrad-area bear management specialist, said, “If drought conditions of the past months continue into the summer there will be a higher chance of a failed berry crop this year, which will have bears searching for more non-natural foods to meet their nutritional requirements. In a dry year like this, ensuring that any attractants are secured is especially important for keeping bears away from homes, so it’s always a focus for us to work with homeowners and ag producers to help minimize the potential for conflicts.”

The meetings are free, open to the public, and facilitated by FWP bear management specialists.


Montana is bear country with populations of grizzly and black bears that frequent higher and lower elevations, especially river corridors.

Here are some precautions to help residents, recreationists and people who work outdoors avoid negative bear encounters:

  • Carry bear spray and be prepared to use it immediately.
  • Make noise to alert bears to your presence and travel in groups.
  • Stay away from animal carcasses, which often attract bears.
  • Follow food storage orders from the applicable land management agency.
  • Keep garbage, bird feeders, pet food and other attractants put away in a secure building. Keep garbage in a secure building until the day it is collected. Certified bear-resistant garbage containers are available in many areas.
  • Never feed wildlife. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose threats to human safety. It is illegal to feed bears in Montana.

For more information on living, working and recreating in Montana’s bear country, visit the FWP Bear Aware website.

For more information about these events contact FWP bear management specialists Chad White at 406-788-4755 or Wesley Sarmento at 406-450-1097.