As many as four grizzly bears have been in the Upper Clark Fork and Bitterroot Valley this season, according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Vivaca Crowser reported that a radio-collared grizzly traveled south from Seeley Lake, crossed Interstate 90, kept moving through the Flint Creek Range and Rock Creek areas and was tracked as far south as Sula, up the East Fork of the Bitterroot River.

Jamie Jonkel, FWP western Montana bear specialist, said in the news release, "We've had enough confirmed grizzly bears to remind us to expect grizzlies anywhere in the western half of Montana and not just in those spots where we tend to think of them being more common."

In May this year, residents east of Phililpsburg, in the Flint Creek Range, sent photos that later resulted in confirmation of two grizzlies in that area. Then, a trail camera picked up two more grizzly bears near the headwaters of Rock Creek, southwest of Philipsburg. The sightings were between the established grizzly areas at the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Northern Continental Divide area.

A research project of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is collecting DNA and photos of grizzly bears moving between those two populations and in the Bitterroot Recovery Area to see the movement of the bruins in the last 10 years.

FWP again advises Montanans to:

  • Be aware of any bear sign in your area.
  • Be careful around creeks and areas of dense brush.
  • Carry Bear Spray and know how to use it.
  • Stay away from animal carcasses.
  • Travel in groups in the wild and make casual noise.
  • At your home, keep garbage indoors until collection day and remove bird feeders when bears are active. Consider electric fences around chickens, gardens and compost piles. Be bear aware as they begin to fatten up for hibernation.

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