Farm & Ranch Living

Bear With Me

- BY TRESSA GRAVELEY

WE LIVE IN WHAT IS ARGUABLY THE GRIZZLY BEAR CAPITAL OF MONTANA.

In 2019, it was common to sit on our deck, look down into the swampy meadows adjacent to our home, and see four or five grizzlies moving through the tall grasses fewer than 150 yards from where our kids play. Kyle and I advise our children to stay within our sight and never to venture into the trees to play.

In the fall of 2019, in partnershi­p with local and federal agencies, we constructe­d a bear fence with one access point to our home guarded by a 4-by-24-foot electrifie­d drive-over mat. We jokingly call it a grizzly bear welcome mat. With our house and shop being high-tra c areas for the ranch, the bear mat enables us to remain e cient during busy seasons without needing to open and close gates to keep the grizzlies out. The mat also lets our children play safely outside.

In the spring of 2021, I testified about our close calls with grizzlies in front of a Montana House of Representa­tives Commi ee on Agricultur­e meeting during the 67th legislativ­e session. My hope is that a be er management system will be put in place to address the issues of grizzly bear overpopula­tion and their desensitiz­ation toward humans. Until then we’ll keep doing what we’re doing to lower our ranch’s allure to grizzlies by storing all animal feed, garbage and other a ractants in bear-proof containers and inside locked buildings.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States