Ravalli County Sheriff's Office and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have been receiving numerous reports of black bears and mountain lions roaming near populated areas of the Bitterroot Valley. This past weekend, A black bear was reported getting into garbage in the Florence bridge area. A mountain lion was seen west of Hamilton around Ricketts Road and West Bridge Road in the early morning Saturday, October 5. Livestock deaths have been attributed to mountain lions in the past months.

The reports have led officials to warn residents to keep attractants stowed away. And there are LOTS of things that attract bears. From the FWP website: human food, human garbage, barbeque grills, pets and pet food, livestock and livestock carcasses, honey, compost piles, fruit trees and gardens, landscaping that is not native to area, vehicles with food or garbage. And don't put out salt licks, deer blocks or grain to attract wild animals. Only put garbage out on the day you expect garbage pickup and be cautious. As officials tell us over and over again, once an animal becomes accustomed to human food, there's no turning back. Often, even removal of the animal to a different location doesn't work.