A black bear took a quick trip through the Target Range area Wednesday before a state Fish, Wildlife and Parks official trapped him.
"It was kind of a shock to see him right in the middle of Missoula," FWP wildlife specialist Bob Wiesner said Wednesday afternoon. "He'd gotten disoriented probably, left the river by the Fort and was confused."
Residents around Big Sky High School started calling in reports of the bear about 11 a.m. Wiesner found it in a back yard on Central Avenue about two blocks from the school. He successfully darted the bear at 11:17 a.m. and loaded it into a culvert trap for transport out of Missoula.
This year's cold, wet spring appears to be having a dampening effect on bear activity around town, Wiesner said. Compared to other, drier years, bears seem to be finding better forage in their wild habitat and less attracted to raiding people's garbage, bird feeders or other urban food sources.
"We have some active bears on the fringes, but haven't had one in the middle of Missoula like this until now," Wiesner said. The 2-year-old male weighed between 80 and 100 pounds, and had probably recently separated from its mother, he said.
The bear has been tagged and will be taken to a new forest home far from Missoula, Wiesner said.
While this bear didn't appear to get into any human food supplies, people are reminded to secure their yards and homes from scavenging bears as spring advances. Bears that become accustomed to human food or lose their fear of humans frequently must be killed.