August 9, Idaho Fish & Game lethally removed a black bear on Bill’s Island in Island Park. The bear had been spotted by residents for at least a couple of weeks. This bear could not be relocated because it had become severely habituated and food conditioned. It was very comfortable near people and was spotted sleeping under porches, walking on decks, and was active day and night.
The bear became food conditioned because it repeatedly found improperly stored garbage and other attractants on the Island. A bear that has access to human food will almost always quit behaving like a normal, wild bear and usually ends up having to be removed from the population. Additionally, habituated, food conditioned bears pose much more of a threat to human safety than bears exhibiting typical bear behavior.
When living or recreating in bear country, it is essential to keep the area around your house or camp clean. Securing attractants is the single best way to keep people safe, prevent property damage, and avoid the management removal of bears that come into conflict with people. Residents living in bear country should store their garbage inside or use bear resistant containers, which can be found on the following website (http://igbconline.org/bear-resistant-products/).
It is best to avoid using bird feeders in bear country while bears are active, and important to properly store other attractants such as BBQ grills, dog food, etc.