HELENA – Most of Montana’s 76 Wildlife Management Areas open at noon on May 15. The long winter and heavy snowpack have left a limited area for wildlife to forage. With grizzly bear activity increasing, Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks encourages people visiting WMAs to remain vigilant and practice techniques to avoid surprise encounters.

If you're shed-antler hunting, remember you will be will be sharing the same space with bears and elk. Most animals will see, hear and smell you long before you detect their presence. Depending on the distance between you, the animals decide whether to stay, defend themselves or flee.

Be "Bear Aware” by following these precautionary steps:

  • Carry and know how to use bear spray.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible and plan to be out in the daylight hours.
  • Avoid carcass sites and concentrations of ravens and other scavengers.
  • Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.
  • Make noise, especially near streams or in thick forest where hearing and visibility is impaired. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present.
  • Don't approach a bear.

For more information on recreating in Montana’s bear country, visit the FWP Bear Aware website.

Use this link for more information about Wildlife Management Areas in Montana.

More From KSEN AM 1150