NewsMontana and Regional News


Person encountered a bear southeast of Helena

Grizzly Bear or Black Bear
Posted at 4:51 PM, May 27, 2024

HELENA — The Helena Ranger District is urging caution after a reported bear encounter east of Clancy. The Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest posted the warning on its Facebook page on Sunday, May 25, 2024.

According to the post, a grizzly bear charged a visitor in the Casey Meadows area.

(NOTE - June 11) The Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest now says that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has determined that is was likely a cinnamon-colored black bear, not a grizzly bear as they initially reported.

The encounter comes less than a year after Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks confirmed the presence of grizzly bears in the Elkhorn Mountains, Grizzly Gulch, and the Helena Valley's North Hills.

Grizzly bear populations have been on the rise between the Northern Continental Divide and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystems.

In recent years grizzly bears have expanded into areas they have not been seen for a century or more.

Casey Meadows map

The encounter east of Clancy follows an incident in late April where a shed antler hunter shot and killed a grizzly sow in the Wolf Creek area.

The bear had a cub of the year that was captured by FWP. FWP planned to transfer the cub to an accredited zoo.

Here are some precautions to help people avoid and/or handle 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.