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Grizzly beaver

A grizzly bear tears apart a beaver lodge looking for food along the Rocky Mountain Front in this photo taken on April 2. 

Grizzly bears have left their dens looking for spring food along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear management specialist Mike Madel spotted eight radio-collared grizzlies and five uncollared bears during a survey flight on Monday. One appeared to be tearing apart a beaver den in a wetland east of the mountains.

“The collars turn on April 1,” Madel said. “So, it’s a good time to fly on the Front and try to locate them. This time of year, they are generally lethargic but looking for food.”

Conrad-area FWP bear specialist Wesley Sarmento added he’d received reliable reports of grizzly activity north of Valier along the Marias River and Birch Creek.

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Farther north, Glacier National Park officials recorded grizzly bear tracks in the snow around Bowman Lake in the park’s northwest quarter at the end of March. Yellowstone National Park has also reported bear activity, with a large grizzly spotted between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge. Grizzly tracks have also been reported along the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction, which opened to bicycle riders on March 29.

“They’ve been out for a few weeks now,” Yellowstone spokeswoman Linda Veress said. “People saw the first one on March 8.”

Residents in bear-frequented areas are reminded to take down bird feeders and securely store pet food and other attractants. Bears arising from hibernation actively seek easy meals, and can become habituated to seeking human food supplies.

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