Montana resident has bears in her yard in February……

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ARLEE, Mont. – Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say melting snow has flooded some bear dens across western Montana. The excess water has forced bears out of their hibernation spots and caused more sightings in recent weeks.

FWP wildlife specialist Jamie Jonkel says he’s received reports of bear activity in Lincoln and most recently off of Highway 93 just south of Arlee in Montana.

“Salish-Kootenai wildlife biologist Stacy Courville says they heard of bear activity in a culvert just north of Mountain Home Lane last week. They set up a bear trap adjacent to the highway Saturday. Courville believes the bear was tempted out of the culvert from a road kill deer”.

Its a little early for bears to be out, but not completely unusual, flooding of dens, and lack of food in the fall are among some things that may entice a bear to leave hibernation and do a little stroll into town.    More than likely with this early thaw and rain in the west we will see more bears out of their dens earlier than expected.

A few close by residents have been watching the bear, one particular resident has claw marks on her deck and patio.   She is concerned to let her children play outside while the bear is hanging around.

She says she’s seen up to five bears walk through her front yard.

A few of the bears are hanging around the highways as well.

Courville says they don’t know the sex or the age of the bear but are keeping a close eye. They hope to tempt it back into hibernation or catch it and monitor until they can release it later in spring.

Bears are normally a little groggy in the early spring and wont be to overly agressive unless bothered or harrassed.  If you see a bear near your house just relax let it do its thing and call the Fish and wildlife agency in your town.