This article was originally published by Ryan Lewallen of County 17.
GILLETTE — Wildlife managers euthanized a black bear near Big Horn on June 20 following multiple reports of it accessing garbage, unsecured food and other attractants, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said Wednesday.
According to Game and Fish, residents had been submitting reports regarding the bear’s behavior since May, with wildlife managers carrying a previous trapping effort for the animal in early June that proved unsuccessful.
“On June 19, the bear entered a house on River Street and entered a second house on Brinton Road on the morning of June 20,” Game and Fish said. “That morning, a resident called to report the bear was at her home.”
When wildlife managers arrived, the bear was observed eating seed from bird feeders on the porch and the decision to euthanize the animal was made, per Game and Fish.
“The bear’s behavior had become more brazen in recent days and relocation was not an option,” Sheridan Game Warden Ryan Kennada said in a statement. “The bear had lost its fear of humans and, in fact, realized that staying near human habitations allowed it to reliably get food.”
Efforts were made to convince residents to properly secure attractants and thereby remove any incentives for the bear to remain in the area. While some residents listened and bear-proofed their homes, others chose not to, Kannada said.
The June 20 incident is the latest in a recent round of bear problems in the Sheridan area; a total of five bears — three females and two cubs — were trapped and relocated to a remote area of the Big Horn Mountains after accessing garbage or being in municipal areas, per Game and Fish.
“In these cases, the bears were considered candidates for relocation because members of the public contacted us quickly and we could intervene when the bears were initially coming into conflict with humans and getting into garbage and other attractants,” Sheridan Region Wildlife Biologist Eric Maichak said in a statement. “But beyond just notifying us of conflicts, we really need the public’s help in preventing conflicts by securing attractants.”
According to Game and Fish, relocation is more successful when a bear has not established a pattern of behavior seeking out or becoming comfortable around humans or human habitations, also known as food conditioning or habituation.
“This makes it very important for homeowners to call Game and Fish as soon as a conflict occurs so wildlife managers can respond promptly,” the department says.
For advice on how to live and recreate in bear country, visit the Game and Fish website.