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Remove attractants as bear activity increases

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News from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

WESTERN MONTANA — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are urging people to clean up all bear attractants on their property as bear activity rapidly increases. On Sept. 25, FWP Bear and Lion Specialist Erik Wenum and Bear Technician Kylie Jones received 32 calls regarding black bears in conflict with people, ranging from simply eating apples to attempting to break into multiple homes.

Wenum says that as the fall season begins bears are in search for the calories needed to get through the winter. On food years such as this —  with huckleberries sparse and now gone, and other natural foods drying up — bears are going to go to great lengths to get foods, natural or not.

“We are urging people to step up their efforts in getting attractants secured; lock up the garbage, put the pet foods inside and pick the fruit,” Wenum said.

Three black bears were caught on Sept. 25 and one euthanized due to the level of conflict. Wenum said more bears may have to be euthanized, especially if people don’t clean up and secure attractants.

“It’s unfortunate when we have to kill a bear. It’s not something we enjoy doing, but when a bear is fed human foods that is typically the outcome”, he said. “If residents take responsibility and clean up all attractants, we will have fewer problems and fewer bears will need to be killed.”

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