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Wildlife officials capture two grizzly bears in Blackfoot Valley

Blackfoot Grizzlies Captured
Posted at 8:55 AM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 11:08:42-04

MISSOULA - State wildlife officials report a pair of grizzly bears were recently captured in the lower Blackfoot Valley.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks says the two bears were caught on Sunday, May 29, 2022. One was relocated to a remote area the next day and the other was euthanized due to an old injury that led to a serious infection.

The two-year-old female grizzlies were remaining close to homes along Montana Highway 200, approximately 10 miles from Bonner.

FWP officials say after consulting with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), state crews trapped the bears.

According to a news release, the decision was made "as a proactive measure to prevent conflicts in this rural neighborhood and to better assess an injury spotted on one of the bears."

FWP biologists and a veterinarian attempted to diagnose the bear’s injury and determine if treatment was an option. The bear had a serious infection, stemming from an old injury that had caused the bear to lose its foot.

However, FWP, says specialists weren't able to determine the cause because too much time had passed since the injury occurred and that the infection had progressed to a point where the bear had to be euthanized, the release states.

The other grizzly was relocated to a remote area near the headwaters of Boles Creek.

If you see a bear or bear sign near your residence or need to report a conflict, you're asked to call a bear specialist at the contact number found on FWP’s website.

Bear activity is increasing across the state. Farmers, ranchers, homeowners and outdoor recreationists should be prepared to encounter bears anywhere in western Montana as their population and range continues to expand. Here are some general tips to avoid conflicts in agricultural areas:

  • Grizzly bears can be deterred from areas near homes using USFWS guidelines for hazing grizzly bears, found here []. This helps reinforce bears’ fear of people. 
  • Place tarps under loaders when transferring grain to prevent spills. 
  • Dispose of old grain through sanitation services, burning or dumping away from people, buildings and livestock. 
  • Dispose of carcasses and afterbirth through sanitation services, inside an electrified boneyard or by distributing away from people, buildings and livestock.
  • If possible, secure domestic animals within an electric fence when unattended by people or at night. This includes poultry, goats, sheep or rabbits.
  • Place creep feeders, molasses and mineral blocks in open areas where humans and livestock can easily view the area before entering. 
  • Don’t feed pets outdoors and secure any pet or livestock feed in a secure building.
  • Remove bird feeders from April through November.
  • Don’t let grizzly bears linger in proximity of your home or other structures because this can lead to habituation. Call an FWP specialist to help deter bears if you are not comfortable or able to do so. 
  • Notify your neighbors if you see a grizzly bear in the area to help make others aware. 
  • Domestic fruit should be picked as soon as possible, and any fallen fruit removed. 
  • Folks are urged to “Be Bear Aware” when working or recreating outside by following precautionary steps to prevent conflicts, including carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it, and traveling in groups while making noise. 

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