A pair of young grizzly bears spotted June 1 south of the Missouri River and downstream from Great Falls about a dozen miles drives home the importance of making Montana rural residences bear safe.

The young bears were seen near the mouth of Box Elder Creek, which enters the Missouri between Ryan and Morony dams. They were probably the same pair seen the last week of May north of the Missouri along the Teton River and near the community of Floweree.

In recent years, 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 feed, beehives, livestock, garbage and pet food.

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

Home owners in bear country should take down bird feeders, secure garbage inside a closed garage or secure shed, feed pets inside, clean up chicken and livestock feed, and in general remove all odorous substances that can draw bears. Instead of putting out hummingbird feeders, for example, hang baskets of flowers.

In Montana, it is illegal to intentionally feed ungulates, mountain lions, and bears. This includes putting out grain, deer blocks, mineral blocks, sunflower seeds, garbage, meat scraps, bread, doughnuts and other food.

A properly installed and maintained electric fence is an excellent way to protect livestock, poultry, beehives, rabbits, fruit trees, and gardens from bears. FWP has brochures and a webpage with additional information on electric fencing:

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