Wildlife – Too Close For Comfort
A black bear was trapped and relocated July 17 after breaking into a coop and eating eggs at a ranch in north central Sheridan County.
According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), this is the third bear to be relocated in recent weeks due to conflicts with humans. Three other bears had to be euthanized after receiving human food rewards and exhibiting unsafe behavior.
On June 24, another bear was reported running around Ranchester.
“By the time I arrived, the bear was feeding on garbage in a dumpster behind a local restaurant,” Dayton Game Warden Dustin Shorma said in a press release. “At least a dozen patrons were outside watching and taking photos of the bear from about 25 yards and it was unconcerned by the all the activity.”
Shorma added that even when he approached the bear to immobilize it, the bear stood its ground. The decision was made to euthanize the 3-year-old black bear because it showed no fear of humans.
On June 26, a 2-year-old black bear was reported approaching within 5 feet of a campers sitting in a lawn chair near Bull Creek. Nothing had been left out to attract the bear and it showed no signs of fear. At one campsite, the bear reportedly ripped the screen door off a camper.
The next day, the same bear was reported getting into trash at a Bear Lodge guest cabin and also walking around a camper.
On June 28, another siting was reported to WGFD near Arrowhead Lodge, where the bear hung around most of the day. That bear was also trapped and euthanized.
“I firmly believe that this bear received human food rewards prior to the first call we received about it at Bull Creek,” said Shorma. “The bear made a conscious effort to investigate each and every trailer he encountered at dispersed camp sites in the Bear Lodge and Arrowhead Lodge areas.”
A third bear was euthanized July 7 after repeatedly accessing unsecured garbage at a property near Big Horn.
“Most of these conflicts with bears can be prevented by people making the effort to keep garbage and other attractants out of the reach of bears,” Shorma said in the release. “In almost every contact I have had with property owners, they have said they know they need to keep their attractants secured but choose not to for whatever reason.”
Relocation is the preferred option for bear conflicts occur to prevent unnatural behaviors. The three bears that were relocated still fear humans when approached and had not received repeated food rewards.
WGFD also encourages people to report encounters with bears immediately to the regional office before they learn to equate humans with food.