Dry, Hot Conditions Call For Special Consideration When Living With Wildlife

Hot, dry conditions put stress on many of our wildlife species. More than 70 percent of Montana is experiencing severe drought conditions. You can help avoid conflicts with wildlife by following these suggestions:

Keep food and attractants away from bears. Most of Montana is bear country.

  • Heat and drought will likely reduce the amount of plants available to bears in the wild, increasing the chance they come near homes in search of easy food, such as garbage.
  • Store garbage, pet food, barbeques, and livestock grain inside a building or certified bear-resistant container.
  • Remove your bird feeders and hummingbird feeders when bears aren’t hibernating.

Learn how to keep the deer from eating trees, flowers, and food in your garden.

Help birds and bears by putting feeders away in summer.

  • Bird feeders can be a threat to birds this summer. To prevent the spread of disease, such as salmonella, bird enthusiasts should remove their bird feeders for the summer or clean the feeder regularly.
  • Clean your feeders with warm, soapy water. Disinfect with a 10 percent bleach solution to kill the bacteria. Rinse the feeder and allow it to dry completely before using it again. Disinfect your birdbaths as well.
  • If you live where there are bears, bird feeders should only be used from December to March. One pound of bird seed contains over 2,000 calories, making it irresistible to bears.

Keep wildlife wild.

  • Many young animals appear helpless, but can survive without parental care.
  • Wild animals have an amazing capacity to recover from injuries without human intervention.
  • Catching wounded or even orphaned animals can cause more damage than good if done inappropriately.

Heat and drought are also hard on fish. Anglers can help reduce stress for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish, though fish may still die.

  • Fish during the coolest times of day, where permitted.
  • Land the fish quickly.
  • Keep the fish in water as much as possible.
  • Remove the hook gently. Using artificial lures with single and barbless hooks can make hook removal faster and easier.
  • Let the fish recover in water before releasing it.

For information on river closures and restrictions, look online at FWP’s Restrictions & Closures webpage.