Missoula's first resident grizzly family gets in trouble quick

The Missoula Valley’s first confirmed resident grizzly family didn’t get the welcome Jamie Jonkel hoped for.

“Our first reproducing female with cubs has already been taught to break doors and find garbage,” the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bear manager said  Monday. “It’s a tragedy she’s escalated to that level so quickly.”

A snow storm that was expected to hit Missoula on Monday evening will probably trigger the sow and three cubs to den up and hibernate for the winter. That should play taps for all the other black bears that have been running game wardens ragged this summer around the Missoula Valley.

Rob Chaney

By next spring, Jonkel anticipates they will meet a different reception.

“I’m really hoping the communities along the North Hills — Grant Creek, Butler Creek, the Rattlesnake, LaValle Creek — will rally around and work closely with us,” Jonkel said. “I’m meeting with the (Missoula) county commissioners and the city council and Republic Services (the garbage hauler) soon. We need to strengthen the bear buffer zone and mitigate some things for next year.”

The Missoula Valley abuts the southern edge of

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