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Grizzly in Red Lodge area acting defensive, not aggressive



Red Lodge, Montana — The U.S. Forest Service Beartooth Ranger District temporarily closed all admission to the lake and Parkside path area due to grizzly bear activity recorded within the previous week, and the campground and path at Greenough Lake remained closed Tuesday.

According to Daniel McHugh from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the bear wasn’t acting aggressively; rather, it was acting defensively as a result of people intruding on its territory.

“It was approached by people. When they approached it, they didn’t follow some of the basic bear safety,” McHugh said. “So this bear, in this case, is definitely hanging out in the area and eating natural food, but is not showing any abnormal behavior.”

McHugh and the USFS Beartooth Ranger District have been keeping an eye on the bear’s activity.

“In this scenario, the bear hasn’t done anything to warrant any sort of trapping effort. So, we’re just kind of monitoring the situation. We kind of expect that the bear will move on,” McHugh said.

The number of individuals enjoying recreation in the Greenough region, according to acting Beartooth District Ranger Amy Haas, was the reason for the restriction.

“Come Sunday, we had about 40 vehicles out here. So, with that, we thought the concentration of that, with the bear, that we should put a closure order in,” Haas said. “Pretty rare that we actually close an area. We usually do signage and public information.”

As the bear passes through, Haas stated that they plan to close the area for at least a week. This year, there have been numerous reports of bear sightings in the Red Lodge region, claims Haas.

“Many reports of bear sightings in different areas. (This case) just so happens to be like in a concentrated area of high public recreation at this time,” she said.

When using trail systems, McHugh advised carrying bear spray at all times, traveling in groups, and creating noise.

“Grizzly bears are expanding their range throughout the state… Predator populations tend to not move up and down as much, but they do follow their food availability so the more food there is, the more predators are able to be on the landscape,” McHugh said.


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