SANDPOINT – It’s the time of year when bears are out of hibernation and more active, and more likely to be seen by people. The Idaho Conservation League and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative have teamed up to help landowners and recreationists prevent and safely resolve conflicts with bears. As part of this effort, we created a postcard that was mailed to 20,000 area residents last week. The postcard includes easy tips to address conflicts with wildlife and important contact information. 

Grizzly bears are showing up in parts of Idaho and Montana 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. 

The postcard outlines 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.

If you have concerns or want more information, we encourage you to

  • Visit the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee website at for a wealth of resources for recreationists, homeowners, ranchers, farmers, hunters and public lands users.
  • Contact your local grizzly bear conflict specialist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks or Idaho Fish and Game, depending on where you live. 

We hope these resources can help everyone have a safe and fun summer. Remember to be bear aware!

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