Busy days for grizzly bear biologists, wardens
September 20, 2010
KALISPELL — During the past week, five grizzly bears have been captured in northwest Montana after the bears had ranged close to residences. These captures are part of FWP’s response to a large number of bear reports over the past two weeks.
Grizzly captured near Coram, Montana, close to Glacier National Park
Grizzly captured near Lake Blaine, a rural area east of Kalispell
On Monday, September 13, a 6 year old, 255 pound female grizzly bear and her two 65 pound cubs were captured in the Coram area. They had gotten into bird feeders, apple trees, and had a close encounter with a resident behind a chicken coop. The family group was released along the North Fork of the Flathead River about 25 miles from the capture site. As of Friday, the bears were in Glacier National Park, north of Camas Creek. There is a good chance the family group will return to the West Glacier-Coram area.
On Friday, September 17, a 475 pound adult male grizzly bear was captured in the Swan Valley, in the Fatty Creek area. The bear was captured where a garage had been broken into on Wednesday night. A bear had entered the garage, but did not disturb anything inside the garage except for breaking a couch. There were additional structures broken into in the immediate vicinity. Based upon scats in the trap, this bear had also been feeding on cracked corn, probably meant for deer. The grizzly bear had been captured incidentally in 2007, and then in 2009 for killing 3 sheep and several chickens. The decision was made to remove the bear from the population and he was euthanized at a local veterinary clinic on Saturday.
On Saturday September 18, an adult 370 pound female grizzly bear was captured on the east side of the Flathead Valley, north of Lake Blaine. The bear was observed walking along the edge of a backyard along the woods. The decision was made to capture the bear and move her out of the valley. It turned out the captured grizzly is about 18 years old and was captured at that same residence in 2000 with two yearlings. In the past, she had been captured for getting into apple trees in the Lake Blaine area. She did not have any young with her this year. She was released in Quintonkin Creek on Monday.
FWP is continuing to trap for a grizzly bear getting into garbage around Columbia Falls north of the railroad tracks, and for a grizzly bear that has been killing chickens in the Ferndale – Foothills Road area.
Grizzly Bear Management Specialist Tim Manley notes that most of the bear calls he’s received involved bears getting into garbage, bird feeders, and fruit trees. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wants to remind residents living in bear country not to leave garbage sitting outside where bears can get to it. Take down your bird feeders until the first of December. The hummingbirds left two weeks ago, so take down your hummingbird feeders. You can avoid damage to your fruit trees by harvesting your fruit or erecting an electric fence around your fruit trees. If your pets are allowed indoors, then feed them inside. If they are outside pets, then feed them during the day and don’t leave bowls of dog and cat food outside overnight. This year there has been a lot of bears killing chickens throughout western Montana. The most effective way to protect your chickens is with a good electric fence. FWP has brochures available to provide you with information on installing an electric fence that will deter bears.
Black bear calls have also increased over the past two weeks with up to 20 black bear calls a day ranging from Bigfork, Marion, Kalispell, Eureka, Olney, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and Coram. With the start of black bear hunting season on September 15th, some of the black bears causing problems have been harvested. Hunting is not an option for black bears in town or in residential areas, females with cubs, or bears that only come in after legal hunting hours. Manley says that due to the large number of calls, FWP has to prioritize the calls and the best way for you to prevent any bear problems is to make sure you don’t have any attractants available to them. Manley says that the bears FWP have captured have been in good shape. They aren’t starving, they are just trying to put on that extra layer of fat to survive the winter in their den. Most black bears are denned by the end of October and most grizzly bears by the December 1.