Sheridan, Wyo. (June 17, 2013) – A Wyoming Game & Fish Department game warden trapped a black bear in the Bighorn National Forest Sunday night. The four-year-old male bear had received a food reward from a camper in the Dayton Gulch area earlier that morning. That evening, the bear returned for more. The bear was euthanized.
Black bears roam throughout the Bighorn National Forest. Proper food storage and clean camping techniques are important to avoiding an encounter with a bear. Following these tips will help ensure a safer visit to the forest, for you and the bears.
-Keep a clean camp. Store food, garbage, toiletries, and stoves in closed vehicles or in approved bear-resistant containers. Coolers are not bear resistant.
-Never put food scraps in the campfire.
-Do not keep food, or anything with an odor, in tents.
-Any strange odor will attract a bear. Bears will target motor oil, insect repellent, liquor, and other items that smell like food.
-When walking in the woods, be alert, make noise, and carry bear spray and keep it handy.
“In most situations, bears will avoid humans. But, bears can become aggressive when searching for food. Once a bear receives a food reward, it becomes habituated to humans and will usually return to the same place, or look for another campsite or garbage can. That’s a death sentence for the bear,” said district ranger Clarke McClung.
Last year, the Forest Service required food storage around Porcupine Campground because of a food-conditioned bear. “This year, we’re hoping people will take the responsibility to keep clean camps and avoid conflicts with bears,” said McClung.
Conflicts with bears should be reported to your local game warden or Forest Service office. Brochures with instructions on proper food storage and clean camping techniques are available at Bighorn National Forest and Wyoming Game & Fish Department offices. For more information about bears, visit www.BeBearAware.org.