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USFWS Clarifies Rules on Bear Deterrents

USFWS Clarifies Rules on Bear Deterrents

Ranchers and landowners in Montana will now have more options at their disposal to deter the state's growing number of grizzlies. Protected in Montana under the Endangered Species Act, grizzlies have been prohibited from harm or harassment unless the move is in direct self-defense. As the bears expand out of the mountains and back into the wide-open prairie, however, it becomes more likely they will come into regular contact with the state's ranchers and rural-dwellers. In recognition of this new reality, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has released a secretarial order defining how state residents and wildlife-management agencies may interact with bears, to deter any harmful interaction. Acceptable hazing techniques now include: paintballs; shotgun "banger" and "cracker" shells; up to golf-ball-sized projectiles shot from a slingshot; air horns; flashing lights; and motor vehicles, among a few other things. Some ordinance, such as rubber bullets and batons, and shotgun shells loaded with bean bags, are still off limits. In a final note, the USFWS reminds Montanans that grizzlies may be attracted to paint-ball residue, so any misses should be thoroughly cleaned. For more information, check out the announcement on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park Prarie Bear Monitor Facebook page.

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