Montana Rocky Mountain Front grizzlies are emerging

There is a difference though. Now they are waking up and going well out onto the plains-

We discussed this a lot last fall, with grizzly bears pushing eastward out of the Rockies well onto the plains of north central Montana.  One almost made it to the Missouri River (shades of Lewis and Clark!).

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is holding local meetings on co-existing on this long settled, but sparsely populated part of Montana. So far there doesn’t seem to the crazy talk we have become used to on some of this big animal issues.

Grizzlies out along the Front. Great Falls Tribune.

Meetings scheduled on Front about coexistence with grizzly bears. By Eve Byron. Helena Independent Record as printed in the Billings Gazette.





  1. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Thoughts of Spring and bears – if some Grizz make it to the Breaks they will do well. Lots of open space, few people and lots of food. Just the hunter leftovers, the dead fish found along the great river and the early springs out there would make for happy bears.

  2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    That would be great if they could make it to the Breaks. Too bad that is so far from there.

    1. bob jackson Avatar
      bob jackson

      A gradual progression to the Breaks might work to keep bears surviving there, but since they are omnivores they need training to know what vegetation is edible in these “new” lands. Yes, hunter leftovers can supply seasonal carnivore food…same for a few fish, but what made the plains griz flourish in absence of animals was their knowledge of tubers, fruits, roots, bark from cotton woods and legumes…all learned from mamma teaching the “little ones”.

      Cattlemen have very much hurt most broadleaves on prairie ranges since these folks knew little of what cattle, as herbivores, could eat if allowed ancestoral training. These cattlemen saw only grassivores, thus sprayed, mowed and in any shape and form killed out most “weeds”. The Breaks have a bit more of nature left because it was too sterile ground to make it worthwhile for cattleman to alter it much…but this same sterility means not a lot of diversity in plants either. Griz would have to cover a LOT of ground to survive in this harsh environment without pre whiteman herds of animals around to eat in the vegetative off seasons.

      Which reminds me of a story where a narrow set of perimeters are used to think an animal could live somewhere.

      I was doing creel census at Yellowstones Slough Creek trail head and a fisherman comes out. In talking he points out all the snow on the north side of Mt. Washburn. It was a very hot summer day and thus putting two and two together he asks me,” Do they have polar bears up there?”. When I said no he then procedes with,”They ought to think of transplanting some up there. It looks like they would do well.”. End of story.

  3. grdnrmt Avatar

    I just hope that the locals can accept, tolerate, and maybe even welcome their return.

  4. doug Avatar

    These stories always bring a smile (and mild disconcersion) to my face. Hope they continue to expand their ranges and the MFWP continues to work with locals in a proactive manner. Now i wanna know when Grizzlies will make it to the Bighorns and Pryor Mountains down near the Yellowstone ecosystem.

  5. grdnrmt Avatar

    Hopefully they can continue to find their way to the Selway-Bitterroot – without being on the business end of a bullet due to “misidentification.”

    1. Kayla Avatar

      Go Grizz! Woooohoooo! Personally I would Love to see
      them again bigtime thru out the whole western part of the
      U.S. I trust the Grizzly by wayyy farrr now days then most
      people it seems whoever they may be rather Liberal or
      Conservative, Redneck Hunter or Environmentalist or
      whomever. I live with the Grizzlies every summer up in the
      headwaters of the Yellowstone and with how many close
      encounters, am still in one piece. But people it is a whole
      whole different story. Someone and even your best friend
      will put a knife in your back and not look back it seems
      anymore with regards to people. Aslo personally feel that in
      the Northern Montana Country and the Greater Yellowstone
      Country there are far far more Grizzlies back in the back
      wilds then the authorities ever care to let on or care to
      admit these days. Now let them recolonize also the plains
      here in Wyoming and the Bitterroots and elsewhere.
      Anyway ….. Go Grizzlies!!!

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Yesss, Kayla!

      I say go Grizz and Bobcats too . . . even the Cougars down in Utah on Mt. Timp 😉

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I do have a serious comment, or rather question. Did I read you saying that the number of non-outifitted summertime users was declining in the Teton and Washakie Wildernesses?

      Not that there have many compared to nearby areas.

  6. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Now i wanna know when Grizzlies will make it to the Bighorns and Pryor Mountains down near the Yellowstone ecosystem. They will probably make it there and to the Bitterroots before they make it to the Breaks.

    Kayla, I take it you are not a Bobcats fan. 😉

  7. Kayla Avatar

    Now ProWolf, I LOVVVEEE Bobcats, and Lynx, and Mountain
    Lions and all the critters that run in the woods. In what I
    have seen we Human Two Legged Sheeple are the dumb
    ones bigtime anymore in my opinion.

    Ralph, you were wondering about my comment on non
    outfitted summertime users declining in the Teton and
    Washakie Wild. Areas. Yes this is what I have personally
    observed and my own personal conclusions as of late. Then
    I talked to some of the local people with the Forest Service
    and they would mention the very same thing to me of
    seemingly less people in the wilderness in the summer.
    Then I heard the same thing from some of the backcountry
    people with Grand Teton NP, that the backcountry was
    having less users. This was now just several years back.
    Then have noticed on the people that I do see in the
    backcountry, rather by horse or on foot, just how many
    anymore seem to be middle aged or older folks and not
    many really young folks. And as we are getting older with
    health and age issues, some it seems are just not going
    into the backcountry as much. And also just have to say
    in the Teton and Washakie Wilds, how many places wayyy
    back in there in some of those nooks and crannies hardly
    get any use at all it seems and how so splenididly ultra wild
    anymore. This is just my personal opinion and do not want
    to offend anyone. But there is some use occurring now on
    the edges it seems, but wayyy back in the wilds it could be
    a different story. I will be watching how it will be this next
    summer with the current economic recession.

    And since this thread is on the Grizzly. I will end with this
    one Grizzly Story. It happened on July 8th, 2006 in the
    back parts of the Soda Fork Meadows. I came upon a Boar
    Grizzly near a back stream which I thought was the same
    one that I had a close encounter with on May 20th, 2003.
    He ran from the stream and before going into the woods,
    this Grizzly turned and looked straight at me. Well, with 75
    feet between us and having no fear, I just stood there and
    looked right at the Grizzly. Now for a minute or two we
    locked eyes and stared into each others eyes and souls. It
    has been one of the most profound encounters in my life
    which I could never fully say in words. After this the Grizzly
    just slowly walked away into the woods and I went on back
    to camp. And how many other times have I been back in
    the wilds somewhere with Grizzlies all around but not one
    thing happened to me and my camp. Time for us Humans
    to return walking in Balance and Harmony Bigtime! I very
    seriously think that even with all of our human stuff and
    ways, we are NOT the most intelligent life on this planet.
    We have lost something in our human so called progess.
    And if one wants to really know the ways of the High
    Mountains then let the Master Grizzly teach you. This might
    not be PC by some but just what I think anymore. These
    thoughts are just my own and in my opinion for whatever it
    might be worth.

    Goooooo Grizzly!!!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan