Montana officials give advice on how to avoid bear-human interac

Montana officials give advice on how to avoid bear-human interactions

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KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials are urging residents to pick the low-hanging fruit from their backyard trees to avoid attracting hungry bears. Earlier this month, a grizzly bear was euthanized in Great Falls, Montana after it invaded camp sites. 

The Flathead Beacon reported Friday that state Fish, Wildlife and Parks created a Facebook page to help people in the Flathead Valley connect with someone to pick fruit from their yards.

Bears eat ravenously to prepare for hibernation just as fruit begins to ripen. Wildlife officials say picking the low-hanging fruit can help avoid bear-human encounters.

The Flathead Valley program coordinates volunteers to help gather the fruit. Fish, Wildlife and Parks takes the unwanted fruit from both homeowners and volunteers and donates it to local food banks or presses it into cider.

The agency says garbage, birdfeeders, pet and livestock food and gardens also attract bears. 

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