Bird Hunters Need to be Bear Aware

HELENA, Mont. (NMB) – With the opening of pheasant season, bird hunters especially in the western half of Montana should be prepared for an encounter with a grizzly bear.

A press release says, in recent years, grizzly bear populations have expanded into areas where they haven’t been for decades, including on the prairies away from the Rocky Mountain Front and in the valleys and mountains of central Montana.

Bears searching for food in anticipation of winter hibernation puts them in potential conflict with bird hunters. Grizzlies often follow streams and river bottoms that offer shade, protection and food. These are the same places hunters target for birds.

Some key things hunters can do to help prevent an attack include carrying bear spray, hunt with a partner, look for fresh bear activity and avoid those areas, and do not run or yell if you encounter a bear. Speak calmly and back away slowly while pulling out your bear spray and leave the area immediately.

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