Deep snowpack, more grizzlies mean more encounters

May 29, 2011 - 10:12 AM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — There have been a half-dozen encounters between grizzly bears and humans reported in Montana this month alone.

Most of those encounters didn't turn out well for the bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Four times, the grizzlies were shot and killed.

Chris Servheen is the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He attributes the number of encounters to the growing population of bears combined with a deep snowpack preventing the bears from going to higher ground.

Servheen says he didn't consider the number of encounters to be unusual, but said it served as a good reminder for people to be bear aware. He says people should make noise and carry pepper spray while hiking.