The Big Hole River area is not a place people expect to see a grizzly bears, and in fact, most people in the area operate under the assumption that grizzlies are not present. This is for a good reason, as grizzlies have been absent from the Big Hole watershed for roughly a century. However, grizzly populations to the north and south have recovered considerably in recent decades, leading to bears dispersing into historic range. The confirmed sightings summer 2016 represent the first time that grizzlies have been documented in the Big Hole area in several years. To read more about recent grizzly bear sightings in the Big Hole watershed, click here.
It’s possible to see more grizzly bear activity in the Big Hole area. If you encounter a grizzly bear activity, providing documentation with photos of bears or tracks and a location to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is key to confirming presence.
Wildlife conflict resolution
In response to public concern regarding wildlife issues in the Big Hole watershed, the Big Hole Watershed Committee formed a wildlife subcommittee in November 2008 to discuss wildlife management issues. The group is led by ranchers and invites solutions from all sides of wildlife issues. The wildlife subcommittee is led by Jim Hagenbarth, Co-Chair of the Big Hole Watershed Committee and rancher. An initiative of the wildlife subcommittee focuses on solutions to reduce conflict between predators and ranchers and is led by Dean Peterson, board member of the Big Hole Watershed Committee and rancher. Tana Nulph, BHWC Conservation Programs Coordinator, manages the committee’s wildlife programs and grants. To learn more about BHWC’s predator conflict resolution programs, click here.