HELENA — State wildlife officials are issuing a reminder to hunters as pheasant season gets underway in Montana.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials note that bird hunters -- especially in the western half of the state -- need be prepared for an encounter with a grizzly bear.
Grizzly bear populations have expanded into areas where they haven’t been for decades, including on the prairies away from the Rocky Mountain Front and in the valleys of western Montana.
FWP adds that even in areas where they have been more common – close to Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and around the Bob Marshall Wilderness – it’s a good reminder for all hunters to be ready to encounter a bear this time of year.
What puts bears in potential conflict with bird hunters this time of year is their search for food in anticipation of winter hibernation. Grizzlies often follow streams and river bottoms that offer shade, protection and food. These are the same places hunters target for birds.