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Bear visits schoolyard

A black bear, likely a yearling, is shown on Thursday by chokecherry bushes where it was feeding next to the playground at the Montana City School. Students were taken inside once the bear was spotted until a Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks warden and law enforcement officers arrived. A trap was set for the bear, which will be relocated if it’s caught.

It was lunch recess Thursday afternoon at Montana City School when a student noticed a bear sleeping outside the schoolyard fence.

Jeanne Dorrington, the school secretary, said the playground aides escorted all of the children into the building. She said they didn’t seem scared but maybe a little excited at the furry visitor.

The black bear, likely a yearling, was attracted to the chokecherries growing nearby. One of the teachers cautiously took classes one by one near the doorway to watch the bear snacking on the native fruit.

By the time game wardens and law enforcement arrived, the bear was missing in action.

Game Warden Brenna White said she set a trap overnight in hopes to catch, tranquilize and relocate the young bear.

“We will leave it over night and monitor it so there are no problems with the kids,” she said.

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White said there are generally a lot of reports right now with bear activity because it’s dry and the berry crop isn’t that great in higher elevations.

“It’s imperative people keep their trash, bird feeders and dog feed put up,” she said. “Those are attractants.”

Dorrington said school staff will assess the situation Friday morning and if the bear has not been located it's likely recess will be held indoors.

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