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Time to take precautions against bears

by The Western News
| July 5, 2024 7:00 AM

HELENA – Bears can be found throughout Montana. In recent years, grizzly bear populations have expanded. As you make plans for the July Fourth holiday, be sure to review these precautionary steps to “Be Bear Aware”.

- Carry bear spray close at hand and know how to use it. 

- Travel in groups whenever possible and plan to be out in the daylight hours. 

- Avoid carcass sites and concentrations of ravens and other scavengers. 

- Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses. 

- Make noise, especially near streams or in thick forest where hearing and visibility is limited. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present. 

- Don't approach a bear. 

Camping in bear country, follow these guidelines:

- Camp away from areas where you see signs of bears 

- Keep a clean camp at all times. Keep tents free of food and anything with a scent. 

- Follow all food storage regulations. Contact the applicable land management agency to learn what food storage rules apply where you’re recreating. Hang all food, trash and other odorous items well away from camp and at least 10 feet above ground and 4 feet from any vertical support, or store in a bear-resistant container. 

Livestock feed attracts bears and should be treated the same as human food. 

Anglers need to practice safe behavior in bear country 

- Don’t clean fish in camp or on picnic tables.  

- Clean fish close to the water, and then sink the entrails in deep water so they don’t attract bears.