Bear conflicts are down by 75 percent this year in the Missoula area, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Bear Management Expert Jamie Jonkel says people have done a better job this year of getting rid of attractants that can bring bears to residential areas. He says the weather and snowpack also play a big role.
“The times that we really see our conflicts go up are in these food failure years,” Jonkel says. “And all it takes is a good frost or a real late spring drought. And no matter how clean people are, you'll get bears that are sort of desperate, looking for goodies.”
Jonkel says the weather has been good so far, so there is lots of food for bears. But if we don’t get more rain, the food sources could dry up and bear conflicts would increase.