Out of the den: Why are some bears in western Montana not hibernating?

It’s a hallmark trait of bears, a characteristic known even by small children: bruins hibernate through winter.

Except, this year around Missoula, many of them are not. 

From neighborhood “trash bears” to near-city grizzlies feeding on frozen roadkill all season — plus, rural grizzly tracks spotted amid a frigid and snowy February — bears in west-central Montana are active in greater number and frequency than normal for this time of year.

On this episode is Joshua Murdock, the Missoulian’s outdoors and natural resources reporter. He’s been reporting on all sorts of unusual bear activity in recent months, including this. 

This podcast is created in partnership across five newsrooms – the Billings Gazette, the Helena Independent Record, the Missoulian, the Montana Standard and the Ravalli Republic. You can support this podcast and our efforts by subscribing. Visit any of these newspapers’ websites, and click on the Become a Member button at the top of the home page. We appreciate your support of local journalism.

Thom Bridge can be reached at thom.bridge@helenair.com

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