Bears bulking up before hibernation
Summer was a slow season for bear-human conflict because of an abundant huckleberry crop that kept the animals gobbling high in the mountains, but Tribal Fish and Game officials expect the likelihood of conflict to increase as berries dry up heading into the fall months.
“They will likely be headed toward the apple orchards,” said Pablo Espinoza, head of Tribal Fish and Game.
On Sunday, Polson residents watched a bear walk across the Armed Forces Memorial Bridge and climb into a tree in town. The bear climbed into another tree along First Avenue East and hung out for a while before leaving town, Espinoza said.
A few residents in the foothills east of Pablo and Ronan also caught glimpses of black bears foraging on their property.
Another bear was killed Friday morning on Highway 93 just south of Pablo after being hit by a car.
Espinoza said the bears will be eating a lot before they head into hibernation this winter.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks recommends protecting orchards, trees, gardens, berry bushes, beehives, grains, pets, livestock and garbage with electric fencing of at least 5,000 volts to keep bears out.
Bear proof garbage containers and bear resistant coolers are also recommended to keep the creatures out.