Smith River, Montana

Just wondering if anyone has had problems with black bears (or racoons) on the Smith River in Montana? I did it once about 5 years ago with a group and I remember we never hung our food and never had a problem. But it seems like the black bear population is increasing and this year I am the trip leader. I always hang my food when backpacking in grizzly country, but it is always a hassle and I am always dubious that a determined bear (especially a black bear) could not get to it if he tried. It seems like even more of a hassle when canoe camping as you invariably have more food and other attractants. On the other hand, losing all your food 2 days into a 4 day float would suck too. My permit didn’t seem to require that we hang our food or use bear canisters. Anyone have any recent 1st hand experience on the Smith?

I havent run the smith but live not too far from it. Montana has had such a mild winter…NO Snow that most bears NEVER went into hibernation so many bears wont be in dire need of food.

Catch 22- since the winter was mild…NO or few loss of animals due to snow…thus no food.

I wouldnt worry about…play it safe, take the precautions


Yeah, you’re probably right. Thanks. So the bears didn’t hibernate at all out your way? (Livingston is it?) There were reports of them coming out in Glacier in late Feb/early March but they did den up for at least a little while. Probably going to be an interesting summer.

Im sure some did for awhile, but ive talked to people that saw them as well as tracks all throughout the winter.

never heard of anyone haveing bear problems on the smith since the boating season is short, i dont think the bears really figured out that theres food in those coolers!

The water levels are coming up here now. Weve had more snow and rain in montana the last three weeks than we did all last winter combined. its helping with the drought