Grizzlies awake on the Front

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A grizzly bear eats serviceberries in the Many Glacier Valley last week. Photo was taken with a long telephoto lens.

Just in time for the beginning of spring, grizzly bears have been reported out on the Rocky Mountain Front, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said Tuesday.

“We had reports, sightings and footprints in the last few days indicating maybe four or five or so bears out,” said Mike Madel, bear management specialist with FWP.

“This is a little later than last year,” Madel added, “but the bears went into their dens last fall in good shape and we had lots of snow to cover their dens.”

An FWP game warden spotted footprints of a female grizzly and cubs on the Blackleaf Wildlife Management Area west of Choteau, Madel said.

“I suspect we’ll be seeing more and more as the spring progresses,” he said.

When bears first emerge from their winter dens they usually spend several days or weeks near the den sunning themselves. Then they move down in elevation to search for food in lower elevation riparian areas.

People who live on ranches and in communities on the Front should take the normal precautions common each spring: store garbage securely and take down bird feeders.

In addition, recreationists, like shed antler hunters, should carry bear spray.

“People should be cautious in dense riparian areas and carry bear spray,” Madel said.

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