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Bears emerging from dens in Glacier National Park

Posted at 5:08 PM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 19:08:26-04

Recent observations of bear tracks in the snow indicate bears are emerging from hibernation and venturing out to look for food in and around Glacier National Park.

Both grizzly and black bears live in the park and hibernate during the winter months. The bears start to emerge from dens when temperature warm as they are hungry and looking for food, especially carcasses of winter-killed animals.

Bear tracks were recently spotted in the snow on Bowman Road. (Courtesy: Laura Law)

A press release states visitors to the park should travel in groups and make loud noise by calling out and/or clapping their hands at frequent intervals especially near streams, at blind spots, and curves on trails. The actions will help avoid surprise encounters.

Park officials advise not to approach any wildlife.

“Glacier National Park is bear country and park visitors should be alert for spring bear activity, and to be familiar with responsible actions to maintain human and bear safety,” GNP Superintendent Jeff Mow said.

Visitors are reminded to keep food, garbage and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes when not in use. Garbage must be deposited into a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster.

The press release states the actions help keep bears from becoming conditioned to human food, and help keep park visitors and their personal property safe.

Officials encouraged carrying bear spray while recreating in the park. The bear spray should be readily accessible and the user should have knowledge on how to use it.

The carrying of firearms within national parks and wildlife refuges is allowed as consistent with state laws.

The press release states Glacier National Park managers agree with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks’ statement:  “If you are armed, use a firearm only as a last resort. Wounding a bear, even with a large caliber gun, can put you in far greater danger.”

Visitors should report any bear sightings or signs of bear activity to the nearest visitor center, ranger station or by calling 406-888-7800 as soon as possible.