Game and Fish euthanize black bear in Sheridan

Black bear

A failed relocation attempt left wildlife managers with no choice but to euthanize a two-year-old black bear in Sheridan early Monday morning, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The bear was captured along Big Goose Creek between the 8th and 11th Street bridges after several unsuccessful attempts by wildlife managers to trap or immobilize the animal, per WGFD.

After finding the bear had an ear tag, it was learned that the bear had previously been captured in Sheridan a little less than a year ago near Sugarland Drive. Wildlife managers had released that bear more than 30 miles away in the Bighorn National Forest.

Sheridan Region Wildlife Biologist Tim Thomas said that the bear returned within ten days after traversing more than two dozen miles through quality bear habitat and showed no aversion to being in a residential setting.

Thomas added that the bear had obviously received food rewards from residential garbage and, given the dry year and the fact bears are roaming widely in their search for natural foods, the relocation attempt failed.

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“Relocating bears is our preferred management option when possible, but as we see in cases like this, bears will sometimes travel long distances to return to where they were captured and the relocation effort is unsuccessful,” Thomas said in a statement.

This incident marks the second black bear killed in the Sheridan region this year following complications arising from close human interaction, which the WGFD believes could be due to the dry conditions forcing the bears to wander more in their search for food.

The other bear, an adult female, was shot and killed after she charged a homeowner from less than 10 yards away just south of the Town of Big Horn, per WGFD (County 17, July 6). 

The shooting was found to be self-defense following an investigation by a responding game warden, per WGFD, which adds that wildlife managers responded to three more bear incidents across the region that same day.

“It is not unusual for bears to move through areas of Sheridan County, but if the drought persists, conflicts may increase,” a July 2 WGFD release stated.