Be Bear Aware
Fish, Wildlife & Parks Article -
Montana is bear country.
All bears are potentially dangerous. The majority of human-bear conflicts involve bears protecting their young or a food source. The overwhelming majority of bear encounters do not involve conflict.
Avoiding a conflict is easier than dealing with one.
- Bear spray is a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent. Carry EPA-approved bear spray and know how to use it.
- Never feed wildlife, especially bears. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose a threat to human safety. And it is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
- Know your bears. It is important to know the difference between grizzly bears and black bears, whether you are hunting or hiking.
- Always keep a safe distance from wildlife. Never intentionally get close to a bear.
- Loud noise, such as banging pots and pans, using an air horn or your car alarm, or shouting, is a simple, effective short-term way to deter a bear on private property.
- A properly constructed electrified fence is both safe for people, livestock and pets, and has proven effective at deterring bears from human-related resources such as beehives, garbage or small livestock.
- Follow the best practices listed below.
Recreating in Bear Country
Best practices for safely exploring the outdoors:
- Stay alert and look for bear activity, especially where visibility or hearing is limited (woods, bushy areas, streams).
- Travel in a group and keep members together (especially kids).
- Make noise whenever possible to avoid surprising a bear, especially where visibility or hearing is limited.
- Carry bear spray close at hand and know how to use it.
- Avoid traveling at night, dawn or dusk.
- Avoid carcass sites and scavenger concentrations.