Non-hibernating bears sought by wildlife managers
News from CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation & Conservation
If you are wondering if it is too early to see grizzly bears out in the Mission Valley in our current record-breaking low temperatures and snowfall, you are correct. Typically, young grizzly bears adapt to these extreme temperatures and seasonal food limitations by learning to den in their first few winters from their mother.
Unfortunately, two young grizzly bears have been actively looking for food within the Mission Valley to survive the winter on their own. In late September of 2018, their mother was illegally poached and killed. This case is currently under investigation.
Typically, on the Flathead Indian Reservation, female grizzly bears, along with cubs, enter their den in late November or early December. They begin to emerge from the den in late March to early April. Some adult males are known to remain outside the den until late December if food is still available and begin to emerge from the den as early as mid-March.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Wildlife Management Program has a trap set in the area, hoping to capture the cubs and encourage them to hibernate for the remainder of the winter. This area is currently posted to notify the public of known grizzly bear activity and we ask the public to respect the request of the CSKT Natural Resources Department to stay clear of this area.
We understand the public concern due to calving season and the location of the bears in the valley. However, according to the CSKT game wardens, it is illegal and a violation of federal law to haze or shoot a grizzly bear to protect your livestock. Grizzly bears are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
To report bear conflicts or problems, contact CSKT Tribal Law & Order Dispatch at 406-675-4700. For questions and concerns, please contact the Tribal Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation, and Conservation at 406-883-2888.