Madel said the bear had no history of causing trouble or being captured.
“It was a new bear to us,” he said.
Auchly said officials first received a report of a bear hitting a beehive Sept. 9, then heard nothing for about 10 days. A snare was set Sept. 22 after more beehives were raided. The bear was caught the next night.
“It was caught about a mile northeast of Simms along the Simms-Ashuelot Road,” said Dave Holland, FWP game warden.
In the fall, black and grizzly bears are in constant search of food before they den for the winter. Madel figures that is what brought the bear near Simms.
“The local chokecherry crop is not very good — spotty at best,” Madel said. “I’m guessing he was following the chokecherries along the Sun River and found some beehives.”
Beehives west and south of Augusta typically are protected by electric fencing, but not around Simms.
Madel said that there is good news for the bear — the huckleberry crop is very good west of the Continental Divide, where the animal was released.
The bear visited the Simms area just a week after bear managers released a report saying they believe grizzlies have expanded their range in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.
A five-year study of bears in the ecosystem, based on DNA collected from bear hairs left behind in the woods, concluded that an estimated 765 grizzlies live in the northern Rocky Mountains of Montana. That’s about 2.5 times the number of bears previously estimated to live in the 7.8 million-acre Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which is about the size of Maryland and Delaware combined.
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