Sometimes you ask a question and you don't get the answer that you expect. 

Last week I posted a question on a few of the Facebook pages for our radio stations asking if listeners were more concerned about bears or mountain lions. There have been reports recently that bears are coming out of hibernation early. Anecdotally, I've also heard of some recent mountain lion sightings. The question reflected my curiosity about which kind of wildlife may cause more issues for people living in Missoula and the surrounding areas. 

READ MORE: Montana Bears Are Coming Out of Hibernation Early

Some people answered directly, saying that bears are more frequent where they live or things like, “Bears. Always bears.” Some said mountain lions. Others said they weren’t concerned by either bears or mountain lions which I understand because Montanans are hardcore. 

Then the jokes appeared. “Politicians scare me more,” one said. Then another said they were afraid of AI. And then some started to mention transplants/Californians/tourists, liberals, or those experiencing homelessness. Then one person nailed it on the head, the thing that all the comments seemed to be suggesting. What concerns Montanans most is people. 

It reminds me of this viral video from a few years ago.  

Maybe this shouldn't come as a surprise. If there were a brochure for hermits Montana would be on the cover. It shouldn't be a surprise because of the outsized growth over the last couple of years in Montana.  

But it struck me as strange to see so many people, in some way, say they were more concerned about people. It's almost as if Montanans have become the wildlife themselves. It’s a strange metaphor to be sure.  

The idea that Montanans are concerned about all kinds of other people makes me a little sad. And if the Montanans feel this encroached upon, imagine how the animals feel.  

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Gallery Credit: KC

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