A bicyclist found a grizzly bear foot on Snowbowl Road on April 11. The rest of the bear, and more besides, left marks all across the Missoula Valley.
“We thought it might have been from something scavenging, like a coyote had found a dead grizzly,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bear manager Jamie Jonkel. “But it was a high-impact injury and it would be very odd that we would find a foot on the Snowbowl Road right where the family group was hanging out.”
The family group was a sow grizzly with three yearling cubs who caused lots of trouble last fall raiding human food sources. After one of this April’s spring snowstorms, hikers found grizzly bear tracks north of Interstate 90 through the Rattlesnake neighborhood. Grizzly observations also got recorded in Marshall Canyon, just east of the city.
Then came reports that two young grizzlies were hanging around Wisherd Ridge, above the Blackfoot River about 5 miles east of Bonner. Jonkel set culvert traps in the adjacent Twin Creek drainage and caught two 2-year-old grizzly females last week. The two apparent siblings were in extremely different condition. One was missing a foot and weighed 90 pounds,