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Three grizzly bears killed on Hwy 93 in 2019

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FLATHEAD RESERVATION – Three grizzly bears have lost their lives due to separate vehicle collisions on U.S. Highway 93 on the Flathead Reservation this year.  

Although collisions are down compared to 2018, when six bears were lost on the highway, ranging from cubs to an adult female and male, every bear lost is disheartening.  

The first bear was hit in late September. It was a young non-lactating female found on the west side of the highway at mile marker 41. She was not marked and not previously known to the CSKT Wildlife Program.  

The second grizzly bear was hit in early November. It was a young of-the-year male found north of St. Ignatius. 

The third grizzly was hit in early December and was a young of-the-year female, also found north of St. Ignatius. None of these incidents were reported by the vehicles that hit them.    

During mid-August through to late September or October on the Flathead Reservation, bears are in hyperphagia, which is when a bear feels the need to eat and drink continuously. The need may include feeding up to 24-hours a day. This is preparation for hibernation and is true for both grizzly and black bears. They are searching widely for food. Please be extra vigilant when driving at night and break for all wildlife.  

Typically, on the 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 in the valley until late December if food is still available and begin to emerge from the den as early as mid-March.       

For more information, contact Stacy Courville, carnivore management specialist for CSKT at 406-883-2888. 

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