Black bear euthanized in Story
Sheridan – Game and Fish wildlife managers euthanized a young male black bear on July 4, 2022 after responding to a call on Presbyterian Road where it had accessed unsecured garbage. Personnel had responded to multiple reports of the blonde-colored bear in several areas of Story over the past two weeks and had tried unsuccessfully to trap it. The bear received multiple food rewards, including trash and bird feed, and more than one resident witnessed or captured security camera footage of the bear on their porches. Because it had repeatedly accessed attractants for many days, the decision was made to euthanize rather than relocate the bear.
Euthanizing a bear is the last resort for wildlife managers. But after a bear has repeatedly received food rewards, the bear’s behavior changes and it seeks out areas with humans, knowing that food can be found there, creating a human safety concern.
“We first received calls about bears causing conflicts in Story on June 17,” said Sheridan Wildlife Biologist Tim Thomas. “We responded to investigate incidents on Mountain Home Road and on Buck Trail Road. We saw many residences with bird feeders accessible to bears, including one home that had eight feeders within reach of a bear. Despite years of Bear Wise education in the Sheridan Region, there continues to be bear conflicts, as demonstrated by recent events. Unfortunately, given the proximity of our communities to native bear habitats, these types of conflicts will continue to occur unless bear attractants are secured.”
Bears can be attracted by trash, livestock feed, pet food, barbeque grills, fruit trees, backyard livestock, beehives and bird feeders – both seeds and hummingbird feeders. There are no municipal or county ordinances in Sheridan or Johnson counties requiring residents to secure attractants. However, when residents voluntarily secure or contain bear attractants, it has been proven to reduce bear conflicts and conflict-related euthanasia. Thomas adds “To be successful in preventing bears from becoming food-conditioned, we need more people doing the right thing.”
The euthanasia of this bear is not the end of the bear-conflict story in Sheridan Region. Additional bear conflicts have been reported in recent weeks in several locations, emphasizing the need for residents throughout Sheridan and Johnson counties to secure attractants.
June 22 – A bear accessed unsecured fish food at a residence outside Dayton. Game and Fish personnel responded and spoke with the owners about securing attractants.
June 24 – A bear was reported in Dayton. Game and Fish personnel responded but did not find the bear.
July 2 – A bear accessed unsecured trash, livestock feed and a bird feeder at a residence on Wolf Creek Road. Game and Fish personnel responded and set a trap. The bear did not return and the trap was removed.
July 2 – A bear was reported accessing garbage at a cabin west of Buffalo. Game and Fish personnel responded. The cabin owner secured the trash and no further reports have been received.
July 3 – A bear accessed unsecured chicken feed at a residence outside Ranchester. Game and Fish personnel were not called until a day later and when they responded, the bear was gone.
July 5 – A bear was trapped in Story on Buck Lane and relocated to the Bighorn National Forest.
For residents who were unable to attend one of the Living in Bear and Lion Country workshops held last month in Dayton and Story, you can find much of the same information that is presented at the workshops on the Bear Wise page of the Game and Fish website at wgfd.wyo.gov.
Any sightings of a bear in residential or developed areas should be reported as soon as possible to the Game and Fish Regional Office at 307-672-7418 during regular business hours or to a local law enforcement agency.