Official Montana Hunting Safety Course Link to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Hello, hunter! Montana's online hunting course has moved. Click here to go to the latest version of the Today's Hunter in Montana course—the official hunting safety course of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The following course material is for reference only. Please go to the new course to complete your Montana certification.

Be Bear Aware!

Grizzlies can be found throughout Montana. Due to recovery efforts, grizzly bear populations are expanding, and bears are re-colonizing historic ranges. This means that hunters are more likely to run into grizzly bears in more places when out in the field!

The very act of hunting puts hunters at an increased risk of encountering grizzlies; elk bugling, game calls, and cover scents attract not only game, but also bears.

Tips for hunting in grizzly country:

  • If you hunt in grizzly country leave detailed plans with someone, and check-in periodically.
  • Hunting partners should share details of their hunt plans and have a check-in or communication system.
  • Pay attention to fresh bear sign. Look for bear tracks, scat, and concentrations of natural foods. Use caution when hunting areas that have evidence of bear activity or areas with scavenging birds such as magpies, ravens, or crows.
  • Communicate with other hunters and let them know when grizzly bears have been seen and/or fresh sign has been observed.
  • Some bears have learned to associate gunshots with the availability of a carcass or gut pile—they may move to your kill.

Most grizzly bears will leave an area if they sense human presence. Hunters who observe a grizzly bear or suspect a bear is nearby should leave the area. If by chance you do encounter a grizzly:

  • Stay calm.
  • Do not run!
  • Assess the situation.

    • Is the bear aware of you and threatening?
    • Is it fleeing?
    • Is it unaware of your presence?
  • Keep the bear in sight as you back away, and leave the area.


If you are going to hunt black bear, you must know the bear characteristics!

Look for a combination of characteristics

Bear characteristics: Black Bear and Grizzly

Color and size can be misleading

Learn how to identify bears. Visit FWP's new bear identification website at:

Black BearGrizzly Bear

Montana Fish, Wildlife,
& Parks
White-tailed deer tracks
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Official hunting safety course for Montana hunters last modified: November 16, 2011
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