Skip to main content

Why Were 13 Grizzly Bears Hanging Out Together in Montana?

grizzly bears
Mike Madel

Seeing this many grizzly bears together is extremely rare. Here’s what biologists think inspired the group gathering.

An astonishing thirteen grizzly bears were spotted together during the third week of October in the foothills of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. The bears, spotted from the air, were on a ranch owned by Dan Freeman, located approximately 90 miles northwest of Great Falls.

While tracking radio-collared grizzly bears from an airplane, Mike Madel, a grizzly bear management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, came across the group, finding that one bear in the gathering was wearing a collar.

“I don’t know if anybody has really observed that many bears together before. It almost seemed like a gathering of females with young who were related or familiar with each other,” Madel said.

grizzly bears
Five grizzly bears, spotted 100 yards from the larger group of eight.

Bear experts seem to believe the bears were related, quite possibly mother-daughter or even grandmother. Unlike young males, females often take up residence on a portion of the mother’s home range.

Whatever the reason, an interesting sight and definitely one for the books. As for the ranch owner – Madel warned him of the large gathering and gave him some bear spray.

Photos Courtesy of Mike Madel.


you might also like

Why Were 13 Grizzly Bears Hanging Out Together in Montana?