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FWP will teach safety lessons throughout Montana’s Bear Aware Month



Montana – In Montana, it’s Bear Awareness Month. In order to keep people safe at home and outside, Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has organized certain workshops.

On Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., you will have the first opportunity to obtain some of the information at the FWP region 5 office in Lake Elmo State Park.

Amy Adamson, 48, of Kansas was severely mauled by a grizzly bear in July while she was out for a run in West Yellowstone.

The grizzly bear burst into someone’s house on Saturday morning to grab food.

“The adult bear was shot with authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because of the immediate danger that was posed by the bear’s food conditioned behavior,” said Morgan Jacobsen, FWP information and education manager in Bozeman.

According to FWP, the 10-year-old female grizzly was captured in 2017 for scientific study and has since been connected to another incident in Idaho that resulted in injury.

The 46-pound cub of the grizzly will remain at FWP’s Helena rehabilitation facility until a zoo home is found.

Gov. Greg Gianforte, R-Montana, was inspired by incidents like these to declare September to be Bear Aware Month.

Black and grizzly bears can both be controlled through education.

When trekking in bear habitat, the FWP suggests bringing bear spray, which functions best when positioned around 30 feet away.

“This stuff is pretty similar to pepper spray so it affects a bears’ breathing abilities, their eyesight, their smell,” said Chrissy Webb, FWP communication and education manager in Billings.

At the bear-aware activities, Webb will use what she refers to as a “inert bear spray” and let people practice using it.

She suggests placing the bear repellent in a convenient location that is easy to locate.

“Having it in an accessible location and then I also like to say a consistent location,” Webb said. “So you know every time I go hiking, it’s right here on my waistband.”

Webb advises against leaving potential food out on your property because grizzly and black bears are known to be food-conditioned.

“They’re really looking for anything they can eat at this point,” Webb said. “So that’s really where that making sure your attractants are stored securely on your property is really important because bears are looking for about anything they can eat this time of year to prepare for hibernation.”

Additionally, she claims that black bears have been spotted in Billings and in Lockwood.

According to her, grizzlies often live higher up and have been spotted in numerous locations around the state.

“A good reminder of to folks is that you can potentially see a grizzly bear really anywhere west of where we are here in Billings,” Webb said.

She also advises staying vigilant and keeping an eye out for any potential bear activity nearby.

“So it’s making sure folks are aware of their surroundings and aware of what might be in the area to make sure they stay safe,” Webb said. “And make sure these awesome wild animals we have in this state can stay wild.”


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