FWP relocates grizzly bear after tranquilizing it in garage

A 900-pound male grizzly bear that wandered into a garage Wednesday on the Birch Creek Colony west of Valier was relocated today to Pike Creek west of East Glacier on the Rocky Mountain Front.

“Members of the Colony tried to deter the bear from the residential area,” said Wesley Sarmento, Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear management specialist. “However, the bear ran into an open garage to escape from people.”

The Colony called Sarmento, who tranquilized the bear and relocated it. He estimated the bear at eight years old.

“Members of the Colony said the bear wasn’t causing any problems,” Sarmento said. “It just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

With the general big game season opening Oct. 20, hunters should be prepared to encounter a grizzly bear anywhere in the western half of Montana. Bears are active now and will remain so until they enter their dens for the winter.

Being prepared in bear country means carrying bear spray and being ready to use it, hunting with a partner and always letting people know where you’re going. Bear spray has been shown to be more effective than a gun at stopping a charging bear.

Using a firearm requires a person to have pin-point accuracy in a stressful situation. Bear spray can be more effective because it sends out a thick, wide cloud of deterrent.

Although firearms are a legal means of self-defense, even with a federal protected species, people with a firearm defending others from a bear sometimes end up shooting the person they are trying to save.

If a hunter observes a grizzly bear, but the bear doesn’t know the hunter is there, the person should quietly leave the area and not alert the bear. If a hunter encounters a grizzly and the bear is aware of the person, then the hunter should talk calmly to the bear and back away slowly to leave the area.

“Most grizzly attacks occur when a grizzly becomes surprised,” Sarmento said. “So, it is important to avoid surprising a grizzly at short range.”