Press Release
As Grizzly Bears Emerge from Dens, Wildlife Managers Ask Public to Help Keep Bears Wild
Residents and visitors are advised to be vigilant, keep their distance, secure attractants, and never feed wildlife
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MISSOULA — As grizzly bears begin to emerge from their dens this spring in search of food, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) reminds the public to remain vigilant and encourages people to take proactive actions to avoid bear conflicts. Male grizzly bears tend to emerge from their dens in March and April, and females with cubs typically appear in April and May. Knowing how to be Bear Aware can reduce your chance of encountering a grizzly bear. 

Residents and visitors in Montana, Wyoming, northeast Washington, and northern and eastern Idaho should assume that grizzly bears may be present and work to avoid conflicts – avoiding a conflict is always easier than dealing with one.  


Keep Bears Wild – save the life of a bear (or your own): 

  • Never approach bears, always stay at least 300 feet away 
  • Practice ethical wildlife viewing 

  • Do not interrupt bear activities 

  • Never feed bears 

  • Store food, garbage, and other attractants in a bear-resistant place 

  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it 

  • Avoid recreating alone, stay on maintained trails and make noise 

  • Avoid recreating at dusk, dawn, or night 

  • Never run if you encounter a bear; learn how to handle an encounter 

  • Know and follow public land regulations 


Unsecured attractants such as trash or food are likely to habituate animals to human development and create dangerous human food-conditioned behavior. When this happens, bears may become aggressive and threaten human safety. Prevent bears from frequenting areas in and around residential areas and becoming food-conditioned: 

  • Secure attractants – anything with an odor such as compost, trash, dog food, livestock food, birdseed, or beehives 

  • Use approved hazing techniques – don’t allow bears feel comfortable near human-occupied dwellings. There are safe ways to tell a bear to move along by making noise, such as yelling and banging pots/pans 

  • Report bear sightings, encounters, and conflicts immediately to your state or Tribal wildlife management agency 


Residents and visitors are encouraged to explore additional grizzly bear safety information is available from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee for residents, hikers/campers, hunters, and farmers/ranchers

Story Tags

Endangered and/or Threatened species
Wildlife management