Female Grizzly and Cub Captured South of Columbia Falls

Bears were released in Glacier National Park, while another trap is set for a male grizzly

By Beacon Staff

An adult female grizzly bear and her female cub of the year were captured by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear managers over the weekend of Oct. 1-2, just west of Highway 206 on Trap Road, south of Columbia Falls, and were released in Glacier National Park.

The bears had been reported during the previous two weeks along the base of the Swan Range and near the highway feeding on apples. On Sept. 31, wildlife managers set a trap at the base of the mountains for the female and cub. They set another trap west of Highway 206 off of Trap Road where an adult male grizzly had been feeding on meat scraps at a local meat processing facility. The female and cub ended up crossing the highway and the cub was captured at Trap Road. Additional traps were moved to that location and the adult female was captured Saturday night.

According to FWP Grizzly Bear Management Specialist Tim Manley, the adult female grizzly was in excellent condition and weighed 419 pounds. The cub was also in excellent shape and weighed 144 pounds. In addition to the family group, an adult male grizzly bear was observed in that same area and FWP has traps set for that bear.

The grizzly bears had been accessing meat scraps behind a local meat processing facility. FWP has put up a temporary electric fence around the attractant to keep bears out. The fence has been effective and no bears have gotten through the fence.

The adult female is 15 years old and was originally captured in Glacier National Park in 2007 near Granite Park as part of the population trend monitoring program. Her radio collar data from 2007-2009 indicated that she spent most of her time in the interior of Glacier Park and would travel south to Teakettle Mountain, northeast of Columbia Falls during the berry season.

In 2007 and 2008 she denned in Glacier Park. Knowing part of her home range was in Glacier, FWP worked with Glacier National Park officials and released her in the park near Anaconda Creek, off the inside road. Her latest GPS radio collar locations indicate that she has moved farther north into the interior of the park.

Autumn is the time of year that bears are trying to put on enough fat to survive through the winter denning period. FWP has received reports of grizzly bears and have responded to calls in the Eureka, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Coram, and Ferndale area.

Residents are reminded to secure attractants such as garbage, pet food, and birdseed. Pick your fruit or protect your fruit trees, livestock, and poultry with electric fencing. In Montana, it is illegal to feed bears and ungulates. This includes putting out grain and deer blocks.

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