State wants a minimum of 800 grizzly bears in the region

Print Article

A grizzly bear feeds on whatever it found under this stump in this file photo. (Chris Peterson photo)

The Montana Fish and Wildlife commissioners last week adopted a preliminary conservation plan for grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem that looks at maintaining a population of at least 800 bears.

Currently, there are about 1,000 bears in the NCDE, which stretches from the Canada border along the continental divide to Ovando.

The NCDE includes all of Glacier Park and Bob Marshall Wilderness complex.

While the minimum number of bears is set at 800, the strategy claims that in essence, it will be maintaining at least 1,000 bears even after their delisted from the Endangered Species Act, a move that’s expected later this year.

“Given the commitment to incorporate all forms of uncertainty into the population modeling, this objective necessitates maintaining an actual population size that is likely closer to 1,000 bears, and an even higher population size should uncertainty increase,” the strategy document notes.

In order maintain the 800 number with a 90 percent certainty, the state would have to effectively manage for 1,000 bears, FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish noted.

Not all the bears would be managed by the state, however. The tribes and the federal government would manage bears as well.

Glacier Park, for example, has about 300 grizzlies roaming its 1-million acre preserve. The Park does not allow hunting and manages bears within its boundaries. In most years, it has little, if any, human caused mortality.

The tribes would manage their bear populations as well.

Outside the protections of the Park, grizzlies face a host of issues, from run-ins with hunters, to collisions with vehicles. Bears also get into a lot of trouble on private property, where they eat livestock, crops, fruit trees and will dine on garbage and pets if they’re not secured.

Once bears are delisted, the state could also institute a limited hunting season for bears, though that’s a move opposed by members of the tribes, who consider the animal sacred and oppose trophy hunting of grizzlies.

If the state instituted a hunt, the commission would have to approve the measure and deaths from hunting would count against the allowable annual mortality of bears.

The comment period on the rule will run from Aug. 24 to Oct. 26 with a public hearing on the population plan Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Flathead Valley Community College Arts and Technology building in Kalispell.

Comments can also be submitted by mail to Grizzly Bear ARM, Wildlife Division, Department of Fish, Wildlife and

Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mail, and must be received no later than Oct. 26, 2018.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Go green to catch Lake Whitefish on their spawning run

November 14, 2018 at 8:17 am | Hungry Horse News Every fall many thousands of lake whitefish leave Flathead Lake to make to make their spawning trek up the Flathead River. For shorebound anglers, the migration offers a rare opportunity to catch th...


Read More

Resort looks to further develop Hellroaring Basin

November 12, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Hungry Horse News Whitefish Mountain Resort is hoping to bring more skiers and runs into the Hellroaring Basin area. The resort has submitted plans to the Flathead National Forest Tally Lake District for a proposed i...


Read More

Hunters overall having less success than last year

November 07, 2018 at 7:40 am | Hungry Horse News Hunting season continued its slower than normal pace in week three, with 6,748 hunters reporting a total of 328 whitetail deer at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks check stations for the season to dat...


Read More

Smalley’s outboard winterization tips

November 07, 2018 at 7:39 am | Hungry Horse News If my lawn mower doesn’t start first pull in the spring, I can deal with it. But if my outboard motor doesn’t start, I’m not a happy camper. The best way to be sure that you won’t have to be pullin...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy