During this past year, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks teamed up with the University of Montana for a collaborative study on grizzly bears. They wanted to know what Montanans think about grizzly bears and grizzly bear management in Montana.

Here's what they found out:

  • Nearly 70% said they had watched a grizzly bear from afar at least once. And nearly 50% said they have seen a grizzly from their vehicle.
  • Less than half of respondents said they had limited knowledge about grizzly bears. Only 1% considered themselves experts on grizzlies. 16% said they didn't know much.
  • 89% of Montanans agreed or strongly agreed that grizzly bears are beautiful animals.
  • 75% said it's important to maintain a self-sustaining grizzly bear population in Montana.
  • Only 19% of Montanans agreed or strongly agreed that grizzly bears threaten their personal safety.
  • 28% felt the bears pose a safety risk to people they care about.
  • Over 70% said they would be nervous seeing a grizzly bear at a distance. 60% said they would be scared.
  • 92% of Montanans said they believe grizzly bears have a right to exist in Montana.

To view the entire study, click on the button below.

Analyzing the data once it was gathered, the study found the general attitude towards grizzly bears in Montana is positive.

Most Montanans agreed that grizzly bears are a part of what makes Montana such a special place. But survey results confirmed that grizzly bears also elicit strong emotional responses in people skewed towards being nervous, upset, and scared when encountering a bear in the wild or near the home.

According to the study, the questionnaire used was developed collaboratively with the University of Montana and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Sampling was conducted using an address-based, stratified random sample purchased from Dynata, Inc. The study participants were adults (ages 18+) who lived in an occupied dwelling that was listed on the U.S. Postal Service’s Computerized Delivery Sequence File for Montana.