CSKT Officials Warn of Bear Activity in Mission Valley, Lower Flathead River

Grizzlies and black bear feeding on standing corn as food sources diminish

By Beacon Staff

Officials with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Wildlife Management Program are warning residents and bird hunters of widespread black and grizzly bear activity from the base of the Mission Mountains to the Lower Flathead River.

Bears are following riparian areas west into the valley as far as the Lower Flathead River in search of decreasing food supplies like hawthorn and fruit.

Field corn has become an important fall staple for both black and grizzly bears in the Mission Valley and wildlife biologists are seeing extensive use of corn in fields on both sides of Highway 93.

According to a press release from CSKT officials, bears do not leave standing corn for dense cover elsewhere during the day, choosing to remain hidden among the corn stalks.

Residents and hunters – both water fowl and pheasant – should be aware of evidence of bear use and take precautions to avoid surprising a resting bear while on foot.

Residents that live near standing corn should secure attractants like garbage, fruit and birdfeeders to avoid attracting bears into their yards.

Anyone experiencing bear problems can seek help identifying and securing attractants, or information in the electric fence specifications, by contacting Tribal Wildlife Management Program or Tribal Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials at 675-2700 or after hours at 675-4700.

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