JACKSON, Wyo. — One man’s trash is a hungry bear’s meal. And this time of year, bears are hungry.
Trash and recycling containers in Teton County are required to be bear-resistant in areas designated as a Conflict Area 1, which has been identified by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as areas that overlap with, lay adjacent to, or are in close proximity to known bear-use areas.
The fine for failing to use a bear-resistant trash can in a conflict area is up to $750 per day, per offense.
Bear-resistant trash containers must meet the minimum structural design standards published by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) successfully pass the testing program and protocols recited in the Bear Resistant Products Testing program. This list is updated every year and is based on whether a bear can open or damage the test product within 60 minutes.
Need a bear-resistant trash can? Contact your garbage collection agency or buy one at local hardware stores for around $250.
Bear-resistant trash cans are just one way to mitigate bear conflicts. Residents in conflict areas are also encouraged to leave their trash and trash containers inside until the morning of trash day – don’t take the easy way out and put your trash out the night before. It also helps to seal food in disposable air-tight containers and clean trash cans regularly.
In the past, Teton County has stated that it is “[the community’s] responsibility to mitigate potential conflicts between wildlife and humans.” The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation shared the following steps that residents can take to do just that:
- Acquire a bear-resistant container through Westbank Sanitation or Teton Trash Removal
- Remove your bird feeders when bears are fattening up before they hibernate and ensure they are hung out of bear reach the rest of the year
- Invest in exclusionary fencings, such as electric wire, to keep bears out of your garden, compost, fruit trees, apiaries, trout feeders, etc.
- Store livestock and pet feed inside your garage, bear-resistant shed, or in your house
- Collect fallen fruit from under trees immediately
“Our community is responsible for the fate of these—and other—bears that make their way into our neighborhoods,” said Jackson Hole Wildlife Conservation. “Wildlife conservation is intertwined with our values and our economy, and we see our agency and NGO partners alongside the community working overtime to address problems with improperly stored food rewards.”
In recent weeks, there has been a growing amount of concern around this issue. With Grizzly 399 and her cubs roaming south of town and in primarily residential areas, the family has
For more information on bear-resistant trash containers, or to find out if you live in a conflict area, visit Teton County’s website. View the list of IGBC-approved bear-resistant containers, here. To report an offense, call the Code Compliance Officer at 307-733-3959.