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Bear sighting near Blue Creek School

Yellowstone County sheriff's deputies stand watch over Blue Creek School after a bear was sighted in the area Thursday morning.

Residents near Blue Creek Elementary School spotted a young black bear on Thursday morning, prompting wildlife officials to remind people that there is a small bear population in the area.

Several people reported seeing the bear in the area of the school a little after 6 a.m. and the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office spent part of the morning searching for the animal before letting Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game officials handle it.

Harold Guse, FWP game warden captain, said they found the 80- to 90-pound bear grazing on grass at the base of a nearby hill and let it go.

He said it's common for bears to move a little lower this time of year because grass at the tops of the hills is still a little too dry.

"It was down there eating that greener grass, just like a deer or a cow would," he said. "Hopefully as the tops of those hills green up, it won't be a problem."

It also appears that the bear got into the garbage of an area resident.

Guse said that there is a population of black bears in the area, mostly south of the Yellowstone River and extending west to Laurel.

He said it's important for people in those areas to remember to keep their garbage out of reach and remove anything that might attract bears.

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