As part of ongoing efforts required under the Endangered Species Act to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, the U.S. Geological Survey, in conjunction with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, is working to inform the public that pre-baiting and scientific capture operations are once again about to begin within portions of the Custer Gallatin National Forest, south of Big Sky, Montana. Biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) will begin the field captures June 27 and continue through August 28. Capture operations can include a variety of activities, but all areas where work is being conducted will have primary access points marked with warning signs. It is critical that all members of the public heed these signs.
Monitoring of grizzly bear distribution and other activities are vital to ongoing recovery of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. In order to attract bears, biologists use natural food sources such as fresh road–killed deer and elk. Potential capture sites are baited with these natural foods and if indications are that grizzly bears are in the area, culvert traps or foot snares will be used to capture the bears. Once captured, bears are handled in accordance with strict safety and animal care protocols developed by the IGBST.
Whenever bear capture activities are being conducted for scientific purposes, the area around the site will be posted with bright warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring. These signs are posted along the major access points to the capture site. It is important that the public heed these signs and do not venture into an area that has been posted. For more information regarding grizzly bear capture efforts call the IGBST hotline at 406-994-6675. Information about the grizzly bear research and monitoring is available from the IGBST website: https://www.usgs.gov/science/interagency-grizzly-bear-study-team