Unfortunate Bears

By Mick Holien
I have had my share of animal collisions driving the highways and byways but coming on any breed of bear is pretty unusual.
I certainly admit the amount of deer carcasses has dramatically decreased with the construction of the underground tunnels that filter game away from the chance of a collision.
That is what made this week’s photo of a sow and a couple of cubs struck on Highway 93 so shocking.

A third cub of this sow has been located and attempts are being made to find her a home.
The driver believed responsible has been located and apparently was driving appropriately.
When the Tribe’s released the numbers indicating that a dozen of the 26 were the result of vehicles my heart sank farther.
Then realizing that there have been four deaths on the 13-mile stretch south of Ronan to Post Creek, especially the Nine Pipes area, where there are no protective crossings certainly makes the point but what to do?
The CSKT Wildlife Management program says they are working with The Federal Highway Administration and the state Department of Transportation to parlay their efforts to get the area protected but no time can’t be quick enough.
Even though I live somewhat in a bear corridor in the 13 years I have been up here I haven’t even seen scat let alone any other obvious signs so don’t count me as an Ursus expert. I’ll leave that to Stacy and Jonkel.
The Grizzly that has a prominent spot on my Facebook page was close to Swiftcurrrent in Glacier National Park and we were lucky enough to watch her forage in a creek bed one October for maybe 30 minutes.
Last year my Tipi-selling buddy and I returning from Swan Lake just missed a big old Griz male standing on the yellow line just past the mile marker 16 sign on Highway 35.
When his eyes met mine I knew he wasn’t even going to flinch and but somehow I maneuvered by him leaving a change of drawers in order.
The tunnels and overhead crossing are effective. Let’s help put additional pressure to make protecting this corridor an immediate priority.
Just sayin ‘

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