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Stay "bear aware" - in town and in the wild

Posted at 7:26 AM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 09:26:18-04

Wildlife experts are once again warning residents and visitors to Montana about bears.

Dillon Tabish with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, told MTN News that residents need to hide all bear attractants. "This time of year bears are trying to eat as many calories as they possibly can before they go into winter hibernation," he said. "They can smell food from a mile away."

Tabish explained to MTN that one of the biggest bear attractants are fruit trees. "Keep garbage inside until the day of pick up," said Tabish. "If you have domestic fruit trees, this time of year domestic fruit trees are a big attractant for bears."

Gina Kerzman, Public Information Officer with Glacier National Park told MTN that if you're at the park, visitors need to be prepared for a bear encounter.

"All of our popular locations such as Hidden Lake, Avalanche Lake, Piegan Pass, Otokomi Lake," said Kerzman. "All of the real popular ones are currently posted for bear frequenting."

Both Tabish and Kerzman remind people to bring bear spray and make sure it's easily accessible. If you encounter a bear, do not run, slowly back away and make noise to alert the bear of your presence.

In the worst case scenario Kerzman says what you should do if you're approached by a bear. "Lay down on the ground, on your stomach with your hand over the back of your neck," said Kerzman. "If the bear tries to flip you over continue rolling and stay on your stomach as much as possible to protect your organs."

Kerzman told MTN that if a hikers does come across wildlife or a carcass on the trail you should report it to a park ranger. Click here for more from FWP about being "bear aware."

Dulé Krivdich shared video with MTN News of a grizzly bear encounter in Glacier National Park that happened near Hidden Lake on Sunday afternoon.

He posted the following information with the video on his Facebook page:

  • Be Bear Aware Folks.
  • This was this afternoon hiking back up after visiting Hidden Lake. Just a switchback below where my wife and I just motored through this big fella (I’d say a 500+ pound Grizzly came through a treeline, down a meadow and swiftly on to the trail itself to get to wherever he wanted to go. Now hikers just below on the same trail are totally unaware of what’s heading their way as we from above start yelling that there is a bear barreling down the same trail.
  • As one yells back “what do we do?”
  • “Just start making a lot of noise!!! Don’t run!!!! But just then, the grizz made a bluff charge and we saw people booking it like we’ve never ever seen before in our lives. Even in the Olympics. But I think that it was a case of the Bear not knowing people were coming up as the people had no idea but even once they did they still did the worse thing.......they RAN!!!
  • Thank goodness that it all went well afterwards. Other than that it was a beautiful day for a hike down to Hidden Lake.

Krivdich also commented: "It was an exciting event. Most don’t realize that the guy running back down also had a 1 year old strapped to his back. But all went well:) Hope it serves as an educational tool for bear awareness along with do’s and don’ts."