Preventing Conflicts with Bears

By JOLEEN TADEJ for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Already this year, bears have traveled the river corridors – Sun, Marias, Dearborn and Teton – east from the Rocky Mountain Front looking for natural foods.

But the animals can also be attracted to unprotected opportunistic foods, like grain, livestock and livestock feed, garbage and pet food.

Folks who live and recreate on those river corridors should pick up food attractants and protect livestock.

Livestock producers may call the Fish, Wildlife and Parks office in Great Falls, 454-5840, their local game warden, or Mike Madel, 788-4755, FWP grizzly bear management specialist, for suggested ways to prevent conflict and to determine if FWP and its partners can assist in providing preventative measures for property and livestock.

Grizzly Bear and cub

Residents along the prairie river corridors must pay attention to their garbage, pet food and barbecue grills, especially at night.

This time of year, bears, both black and grizzly, will keep out of the heat during the day and become more active in the cool of the evening.

Small precautions can go a long way to deter bears from visiting one’s backyard:

  • keep pet food inside,
  • clean dirty barbeque grills,
  • take down bird feeders,
  • make sure the compost pile is not laden with food scraps,
  • keep garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or in a secure building until trash collection.

Experience shows that bear conflicts decrease as more residents learn what attracts bears and how to keep these things out of a bear’s reach.

To learn more about bear proofing backyards and neighborhoods, and what systems, such as bear-resistant garbage cans or electric fence kits, may be needed to keep attractants off-limits, visit or call the nearest regional FWP office. Or, go to the FWP website’s Be Bear Aware page.