MISSOULA, Mont. -

The average grizzly bear may travel 20 to 40 miles a day, which would explain why reports of grizzly bears in the Bitterroot Valley have increased.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said there were reports of sightings of grizzlies in the Sapphire Mountains last year. Though these reports have not been confirmed by FWP, they say it would not surprise them if grizzlies made their way into different areas of the Bitterroot Valley.

Estimates are that about 35,000 grizzlies live in North America. In early spring, grizzlies emerge from their dens. After a week or two they begin to eat grass, various roots and winter-killed mammals. By May, more nutritious plants are available along creeks and in open areas created by snow slides. Grizzlies also eat elk calves and deer fawns in late spring. Bears usually mate in early June.