Bear trapped on a ranch south of Choteau | New
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Friday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. informed Choteau residents via a recorded telephone message that a 3-year-old male grizzly bear with no known history of previous conflicts was trapped on a ranch south of Choteau, where he had killed several domestic turkeys in a pasture with cattle.
FWP grizzly bear management specialist Chad White of Choteau said in the appeal that a camera set up near a trap along Ninth Avenue Southwest in Choteau over the past few days did not recorded no additional grizzly bear activity.
White said the young male grizzly trapped at the ranch had a radio collar and was turned over to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which under a new state law is responsible for relocating bears in some parts of Montana.
The USFWS is now responsible for relocating grizzly bears to prevent or mitigate conflict in parts of Montana, including Teton County. Relocating grizzly bears in Montana was previously the responsibility of the state’s FWP, which typically relocated 30 bears each year to mitigate conflict. However, Montana Senate Bill 337 now prohibits FWP from performing moves in certain areas of the state.
Under new state law, the FWP can only move grizzly bears into areas previously approved by the state wildlife commission. Outside of pre-approved areas of the state, the USFWS is now taking the initiative to relocate grizzly bears. The USFWS worked with the US Forest Service to identify remote areas in northwest and southwest Montana that would be suitable for moving grizzly bears.
White said the USFWS moved the grizzly into the national forest northeast of Rogers Pass. In a press release Friday, the USFWS said it had notified people living or recreating near Rogers Pass that a grizzly bear had been moved to the area. “Each conflict situation is unique and requires input from field personnel, a complete history of bear interactions and behavior, and close coordination with other federal, tribal, state, and local agencies,” said the USFWS in the press release.
“As grizzly bears recover in numbers and geographic regions, it is critical to remember that this area is within the historic range of grizzly bears as they naturally re-occupy this habitat. a more developed location to adjacent remote areas is mutually beneficial for both the bear and the humans.It allows the bear to be removed from other potential conflicts while creating more space between them and the human development,” the USFWS said. “Relocation is not an eligible management tool for grizzly bears that are considered a threat to human security; bears that pose a threat to human security would not be relocated. The public should continue to practice good bear awareness habits in bear country, including carrying and knowing how to use bear spray.
White said in the recorded phone message that native food sources are scarce this year due to the unusually cold spring and drought throughout the growing season. Bears, preparing for hibernation, are biologically driven to find food sources to bulk up in what is called hyperphagia. Black bears and grizzly bears in this state will seek food sources in or around the edges of Choteau and Augusta attracted by the smell of fruit trees, garbage cans, poultry, pet food, bird feeders and grain.
White said he is asking people living in communities along the Rocky Mountain Front to minimize bear attractions by keeping trash cans inside garages until collection day, collecting and disposing of all fruits of apple, pear and plum trees and berry bushes; securing grain silos and chicken coops; bring pet food; clean up any spilled grain; and remove bird feeders.
In its Friday press release, the UFWS said the same: “The community can help prevent the need for relocation and make a difference in a bear’s life by doing their part to ensure that bears never get food rewards. Residents of local communities are encouraged to secure attractants around their homes and store all trash in bear-resistant containers. Attractants include scented objects, such as trash, livestock feed, compost, or beehives. Make sure bird feeders are at least 10 feet high and four feet from any building. Avoid planting fruit trees. Help your neighbors create a bear-friendly community to protect wildlife. It may be cliché; however, more often than not, “a fed bear is a dead bear”.
White said it’s likely additional trapping will be done to prevent bears from coming to Choteau for food rewards. Additionally, he said, the radio-collared grizzly released northeast of Rogers Pass will be monitored.
Anyone wishing to be added to the Call Multiplier database to receive notifications of grizzly bear activity should email White at [email protected]. Additionally, anyone whose phone number has changed since they originally signed up to receive notifications should email White with the correct new number.
To report a conflict with a grizzly or to request help securing a chicken coop or grain silo, call White at 406-788-4755 or FWP Wildlife Technician Daniel McHugh at 406-240-2930.Bear