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Grizzlies out

A female grizzly digs into a beaver lodge for food along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Most grizzly bears along the Rocky Mountain Front have emerged from their winter dens, though some are still near their winter confines.

“This time of year, they are generally lethargic but looking for food,” said Mike Madel, bear management specialist with Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Choteau.

Madel flew over the Front on April 3 and located eight grizzlies with radio collars and saw five other noncollared bears.

“The collars turn on April 1,” he said. “So, it’s a good time to fly on the Front and try to locate them.”

Landowners and residents along the Rocky Mountain Front are urged to remove attractants that could cause conflicts with bears. Attractants include livestock feed, bird feeders, pet food, garbage, spilled grain and livestock carcasses.

In addition, recreationists like shed antler hunters should carry bear spray and know how to use it if a grizzly charges: Point the spray slightly down and start spraying right before the bear gets 30 feet away.

Wesley Sarmento, FWP bear management specialist in Conrad, said he had not observed any grizzlies but had a couple of reliable reports of bears north of Valier along the Marias River and Birch Creek.

“They’re out,” Sarmento said.

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