A grizzly with a GPS tracking device wandered from Idaho into the Bitterroot National Forest this month. The male bear was detected about 15 miles west of Stevensville in a remote area of the forest last week and moved back into Idaho this week. Vivaca Crowser of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) said the incident should remind people that grizzly bears are found across western Montana. FWP Bear Specialist Jamie Jonkel said, "Collared bears provide insights into the movement patterns of other uncollared bears that we can expect to be out there."

The 3-year-old male bear had a den this past winter in the Cabinet Mountains and has been in Idaho most of the time since spring. Historically, grizzlies have been confirmed in the Sapphire Mountains on the east side of the valley and the Lolo Creek drainage on the west. Last fall, a young grizzly bear was captured at the Whitetail Golf Course, north of Stevensville. Jonkel advised residents to keep the area around their homes free of bear attractants. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said, "The grizzly bear also serves as a good reminder for people to keep clean camps and practice bear aware tactics like carrying bear spray when out on the forest." The Bitterroot also has a large population of black bears.

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