Bears are a very real part of our lives in Big Sky, Montana.  We live, work, and play in bear country, sharing our home and backyard with both black bears and grizzly bears, which is why it's always important to be bear aware. 

Being bear aware means being knowledgeable and prepared when entering areas where bears exist in order to minimize the number of negative interactions with bears.  Here is a quick list of safety practices that will help you be aware of and reduce your risk of bear encounters. 

Understand Bears

  • Learning about bears in our area or any bear area you may visit is crucial for understanding common behaviors and habitats. It's also important to learn about any recent bear activity within the area you are traveling. 

Signs of Bear Activity 

  • When out on the trails, be alert and notice any signs of bear activity, including tracks, scat, and even dead carcasses. These can signal the presence of significant bear activity, which may change your travel plans. 

Safety in Numbers 

  •  Traveling in a group will most likely deter bears from approaching you, as they tend to avoid larger groups of people. 

Make Noise 

  • Making noise as you hike or explore will prevent any bears in the area from being surprised by your arrival, allowing them time and space to flee. 

Carry Bear Spray 

  • Always carry bear spray and know how to use it properly in case of a bear encounter. Bear spray has been proven to be an effective bear deterrent.

Proper Food Storage 

  • Keep food and garbage properly stored at your home and campsite to avoid attracting bears. Appropriate Bear-proof containers are necessary for storing food while camping. 

Respecting Bear Habitat 

  • Respecting bear habitat and providing space is crucial. Stay on designated trails and avoid areas with known bear activity, especially during sensitive times such as mating season or before hibernation. 


While the likelihood of encountering a bear in Big Sky is low, it is not unheard of.  Bears are not only present in the backcountry, but are also seen on our golf courses and in town center. To recreate and travel responsibly in Montana, it's important to understand how to be bear aware and make a habit of practicing these protocols. 

For more bear awareness education visit our friends at Hey Bear.