It’s that time of year again when bears are out of hibernation and active! As reported recently by the Spokesman-Review, grizzly bears are showing up in parts of Idaho where they haven’t been seen in decades. If you’re a homeowner, farmer, rancher, recreationist, hunter or public land user, it’s important to take steps to reduce the risk of conflicts with black and grizzly bears. 

Here are some simple steps to keep yourself, your pets, and bears safe:

  • Learn how to properly use EPA-approved bear spray. When out in bear country, recreating or otherwise, always carry bear spray in an accessible place in order to use immediately, if need be.
  • Store garbage in a bear-resistant bin, certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), or in a secured building (four walls, roof, and door with latch) at all times, until the day of disposal
  • Bring in pet food, bird feeders and hummingbird feeders at night, and secure livestock and pet feed in a building or IGBC-certified container. 
  • Keep grills and BBQs clean of food and grease. Store them in a secured building when not in use. 
  • Use electrified fencing to secure fruit-bearing trees and bushes, gardens, and compost piles.
  • Secure vulnerable and small livestock (i.e. chickens, goats, apiaries, sick/young/injured livestock) with electrified fencing.

Have concerns, need help, or want more information?

  • Visit the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) website for a wealth of resources for recreationists, homeowners, ranchers, farmers, hunters, and public lands users.
  • Check out this one-hour educational presentation produced by the Montana Bear Education Working Group, covering bear natural history, biology, identification, attractant storage, preventing encounters, bear spray, and how to handle bear encounters.

Thanks to Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for their support with our bear aware projects this 2020 season.