Last year one grizzly almost made it to the Missouri River-

FWP to trap grizzlies on prairie. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

– – – – –

Update: Plains grizzlies not seen since June 8. Great Falls Tribune.
High water on the Missouri River expected to deter them from swimming it.

Tagged with:
About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

20 Responses to NW Montana grizzlies are again way out on the Plains

  1. Rusty says:

    Is anyone from this area? They mention lots of cover in the area but the area looks relatively barren on google earth.

  2. Save bears says:

    Actually in many areas there is quite a bit of thick ground cover that ranges from 3-6 feet high, especially around the rivers and the creeks and you have cotton wood patches in some areas, deep gullies, so there is a fair amount of cover.

    I know every time I hunt deer or elk over that way, they always seem to be a to hide from me real good!

  3. Paul White says:

    why the heck are they trapping them and not letting them expand outwards?

    • R.N.T. says:

      My guess is they trapped these one because they found an artifical food source and more than likely would have stayed put and eventually gotten into trouble. At the rate thay are expanding its only a matter of time before one (or several) make it to either the breaks or one of the island mountain ranges on that side of the river (Bers Paw Mtns, Sweet Grass Hills, or maybe even the Little Rockies).

    • I hope this is true. I was probably too negative in my comment below

  4. Paul White,

    National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, Wilderness areas, recovery zones, and the like are commonly thought of as special places we protect, but in fact they should also be looked at as prisons of a sort — prisons for nature.

  5. Connie says:

    More trapping? In the wake of a bad week for grizzlies, let’s see how many grizzlies are lost with this newest trapping operation. My grandmother always said bad events happen in threes.

    • Save bears says:


      When it comes to trapping you dealing with different regions, different states and different agencies, and normally one agency will not alter their plans because of good or bad things that happen, the whole country is broken up into specific areas, and many times they don’t pay attention to what is going on in adjacent areas..

  6. ProWolf in WY says:

    Good to see the bears expanding. I hope they can make it to the island mountain ranges or the Breaks and hopefully be less likely to get into trouble.

  7. Nancy says:

    Save bears Says:
    June 21, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    When it comes to trapping you dealing with different regions, different states and different agencies, and normally one agency will not alter their plans because of good or bad things that happen, the whole country is broken up into specific areas, and many times they don’t pay attention to what is going on in adjacent areas..

    Kind of what might be going on with wolves SB?

  8. Mike says:

    How long until these bears are killed for molesting a “ranch” which is nothing more than a haphazard chicken coop and a couple lammas?

    • ProWolf in WY says:

      I don’t think it will take long, sadly.

    • R.N.T. says:

      They didn’t kill the bear last year that ate some sheep, so unless an accident happens I highly doubt they will kill these two bears for just getting into a grain bin. They will probably try to capture them and transport them to the north fork of the flathead like last year.

  9. Elk275 says:


    That ranch is someone’s private property which they own. The ranchers have not accepted any government money and they have a right to propect their property. From what I have read the traps have been removed and the bears have wandered onward.

  10. This is not a sad story. The bears didn’t get trapped. They didn’t do much damage, and more grizzlies keep moving out onto the plains.

  11. mikepost says:

    Two issues are at play here: given the protected nature of the brown bear in the lower 48 there is no fear of humans being instilled in this population. Second, looking at the historic range of the brown bear, and superimposing current human population centers, one can see that we are destined for the same kind and quantity of human-bear encounters as we currently see with the black bear only with much more serious outcomes. All large predators need some kind of instructive harassment so that they fear humans and actively try to avoid contact. Its just like that mature coyote that kicks in the afterburners and goes like a rocket if a truck stops within a 500 yards of them. Thats the only way to keep these bears alive in the long run.

    • Mike says:

      Mikepost –

      Or we could just give them a little space.

    • jon says:

      mikepost, I thought bears are supposed to fear humans no? That is what the “wildlife” experts tell the public. They tell you if you see a bear and it doesn’t run off, it must not be afraid of humans huh? That is so stupid and ridiculous. Even if fear was instilled in bears to fear humans, that is not say that that a a bear with a fear of humans won’t ever attack any. You will never take the natural instincts that a bear has away from it. There has been quite a few instances where people have gotten close to grizzlies and taken pictures of them. To assume that a bear is going to run off because it see a human is stupid. That is what these “wildlife” experts tell us. The only way to keep bears alive in the long run and leaving them alone and stop drugging them. Drugging them and abusing them may be making the problem worse than better.

    • ProWolf in WY says:

      I’ve always wondered about that argument mikepost.

    • mikepost says:

      If you buy into “food habituation” as a cause of conflict because of a loss of fear (or subordinating fear to opportunity) which I think most of us do, then it is not a big leap to buy into a reverse process where critters associate humans with discomfort and make attempts to avoid contact. It certainly is not the answer to all wildlife human conflicts but it certainly seems to work on many black bears and coyotes.

      That said, I do not believe that once a critter is food habituated that anything will save them from destruction. We need to do both: proactively remove the food associations and create fear and discomfort. Tough love.


June 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

%d bloggers like this: