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September is Bear Aware Month in Montana



Bozeman, Montana – September has been designated as Montana’s “Bear Aware Month” by Governor Greg Gianforte.

The straightforward explanation is that Bear Country is west of Billings, and safety depends on being aware of your surroundings.

“We have several very healthy grizzly bear populations in Montana. Their numbers are growing, the distribution is growing, and so what that means is people have a greater likelihood of encountering bears in more places every year,” said Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) spokesman Morgan Jacobsen.

The majority of bear interactions, according to Jacobsen, may be avoided. Human safety is always first, but let’s face it: a grizzly bear encounter that goes south rarely benefits the animal.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to euthanize bears in this part of the state because they become food conditioned or habituated to getting food rewards from things like garbage and dumpsters and bird feeders and things like that,” said Jacobsen.

“Those situations are preventable, and we can help foster healthy behavior in wildlife by securing those attractants and it ultimately means that we have to euthanize fewer animals,” he added.

Throughout the month, FWP will host a number of events to promote bear awareness. According to Jacobsen, the purpose of these incidents is to impart knowledge rather than instill dread.

“It means doing some simple things that really go a long way toward personal safety but also toward healthy wildlife behavior,” Jacobsen said. “We’ve talked about attractant management, carrying bear spray, and knowing how to use it. Traveling in groups, making noise — all these things add significant layers of safety for people such that they can go out, they can recreate in bear country and still enjoy it for what it is.”


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