Wildlife experts warn hunters of bear encounters

MISSOULA (AP) — Montana wildlife authorities have warned hunters of an abundance of both black and grizzly bears in western regions. 

Wildlife experts are recommending bird hunters, anglers and archers carry bear spray on their hip belts and are prepared to use it quickly.

Experts say pheasant hunting season begins Saturday, but mountain grouse hunters, upland game bird hunters and fishermen along rivers and creeks should also be prepared.

Bear specialists say more bears were sighted in western Montana valleys and east near the Rocky Mountain Front.

Experts say they have received reports of grizzly bear activity in Blackfoot, Little Blackfoot, Lolo Hot Springs, Clearwater and Deer Lodge areas.

Experts say bear populations have slowly grown and expanded into historical territories so there are more chances of encounters.

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