The bears have been steadily moving east in the last five years in a gradual expansion onto plains traditionally used as grizzly bear summer habitat, said Game Warden Bryan Golie.
"It's their normal habitat, and it's where the bears want to be," he said. "Sometimes they're just cinnamon black bears, but there are more grizzly bears now too. Grizzlies are not a problem, but because of their expansion, it was natural to hold these meetings."
The meetings are planned April 12 in Simms, April 13 in Shelby, and April 14 in Wolf Creek.
Last week two young grizzlies were seen about 40 miles west of Great Falls along the Sun River near Simms. Three grizzlies were seen in the same area last year.
"We fully expect more people to see grizzly bears on the plains and in riparian areas where we've not seen grizzlies in recent times," said Gary Bertellotti, a Fish, Wildlife and Parks supervisor in Great Falls. "It is a new experience to see grizzly bears near Loma, along the Sun River near Simms, along the Marias River south of Shelby and in Wolf Creek. Local reactions seem to range from panic to awe."
Earlier this month, a rancher reported a grizzly near the Maria River 15 miles east of Interstate 15 at the head of Tiber Reservoir.
"We are having bears moving periodically out of the (grizzly) bear recovery area, both black and grizzly bears," said Bruce Auchly, a Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman. "That's why we lined up meetings in three communities we don't usually go to."
The News is my source. We have a few members from Montana and I'm not sure if this news imediately affects them or not but I'd sure want to know if I were going to share my hunting grounds with ole griz.
Edited by Rowdy Yates, 30 March 2010 - 02:04 PM.