Wildlife officials on Tuesday euthanized an adult female grizzly bear in the Seeley-Swan Valley after she became food conditioned and broke into structures to obtain grain.
The sow was with three cubs, two of which have been captured and are in the process of being transported to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. Officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were unable to capture the third cub, which stopped showing up at the trap site. Traps were pulled from the field and the cub will be given an opportunity to survive on its own.
In accordance with Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines, the adult female was euthanized due to food conditioning, which occurs when wildlife lose natural foraging habits.
During late summer and early fall, bears are increasingly active and eating as much as they can to prepare for winter denning. FWP reminds homeowners to keep attractants secured. Attractants include garbage, pet and livestock food, birdfeeders, and fruit trees, but also include livestock, compost, gardens, outdoor food cookers, and beehives.
The best way to secure an attractant is to make it inaccessible to the animal by containing it within a secure hard-sided building (a structure with four-sided walls, roof and door). Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) certified bear-resistant containers are useful in preventing the bear from learning that garbage could become a food source.
If containment inside a secure structure is not practical, properly installed and maintained electric fencing is a very effective tool. Loud noise, such as banging pots and pans, using an air horn or your car alarm, or shouting, is also a simple yet effective short-term way to deter a bear. Other temporary and short-term deterrents include high decibel motion-activated alarms, sprinkler systems, motion lights and radios turned on at night.
Residents are encouraged to report bear activity as soon as possible. To report grizzly bear activity in the greater Flathead Valley, call FWP bear management specialists at (406) 250-1265. To report black bear and mountain lion activity in the greater Flathead Valley, call (406) 250-0062). To report bear activity in the Cabinet-Yaak area, call (406) 291-1320.