Bears in Huckleberry Patches
When we see a good huckleberry season, we see more bears in the patches and more bear alerts in the news.
A few weeks back, this site posted a story on Protecting Grizzlies in Huckleberry Country.
Here are a couple of updates on bears in huckleberry patches. This first one was published on the Creston Valley Advance website:
… From July 15 – Oct. 15, 2019, commercial-scale picking of huckleberries is prohibited in some areas of the Kootenay Boundary Region. …
These areas have been identified as critical foraging zones for grizzly bear and other wildlife species. They are also of high traditional value to First Nations.
Traditionally, the huckleberry harvest was limited to First Nations’ sustenance and public household use. The recent increase in commercial-scale huckleberry harvesting in the Kootenays has resulted in conflicts with grizzly bear foraging areas and damaged habitat, particularly where mechanical harvesting devices are used. …
Minor changes have been made this year to reflect updated scientific information indicating berry patches being highly used by bears that were not included in last year’s closures.
People are asked to look for road signs identifying the closure areas. The areas will be reviewed again prior to next year.
The second article, published by the KRTV website refers to deadly attacks from wildlife, including in huckleberry patches
… In Montana, it’s not uncommon to be out hiking, walking or running and come across a bear or a mountain lion. Erik Wenum, with Fish Wildlife and Parks, told MTN News the best thing to do is minimize the surprise wildlife encounter ahead of time by making a ton of human noise.
Wenum says yelling, clapping and saying, “Hey bear,” are all good things to do. Bear bells aren’t the best, according to Wenum, because they create a novel sound to bears that will only draw their attention more. Bears, much like humans, take issue with surprises…
Wenum says bear activity is low this summer due to high huckleberry growth because more huckleberries mean bears won’t seek food elsewhere, like garbage cans.
Both Wenum and Sommers recommend always carrying bear spray, as it works on many forms of wildlife. It can neutralize bears, mountain lions and even moose.
If you are going out huckleberry picking soon, I highly recommend you read these articles!