(Shelby) – On September 25th, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is hosting a bear awareness education event in Shelby at the Marias River Electric Cooperative from 3 to 6 pm. Dave Hagengruber the communication and education manager for FWP in Region 4 talks about the upcoming event.
“So that event is just trying to raise awareness of grizzly bears, so you know we’ll talk about bears and bear biology and do like bear identification, but also we’ll talk about how to avoid conflicts. Because it’s much easier and much safer to just avoid a conflict by eliminating things that are going to attract bears. Knowing how to avoid a conflict is easier than dealing with a bear once you get into a situation like that. Those things as well as what to do if you encounter a bear. We’ll have bear spray training’s, we have a robotic charging bear people can practice spraying cans of inert bear spray and then we’ll also have a giveaway. We’ll have about twenty cans of full-strength bear spray here for the people that go through the trainings up there. So were going to run kind of a short bear training session at 3pm, 4pm, and 5pm during that 3-hour block.”
He goes on to explain why there have been so many bear encounters recently.
“You know bear numbers are growing there’s no question about that they’re a threatened species, so they’re managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. No question though there’s more bears than we’ve had in a really long time probably more than a hundred years. They’ve kinda recovered they’re population to the point where we’ve got a lot of bears out there now and they’re expanding back on to the prairies and especially think of the riparian or the stream corridors along the river and the creeks and the streams. So, the bears are coming out of the mountains along those stream corridors and just following them out to the east where they’ve got food and good cover and good habitat. So, there’s more and more encounters.”