Game managers busy with black bear incidents

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – It has been another busy summer for the Game and Fish Department’s Large Carnivore biologists in the Jackson Region as they have been called on to address numerous bear conflicts.

Every year, the bulk of the conflicts involve black bears getting into garbage, birdfeeders and pet food. That’s mostly on us humans, and we need to do a better job of securing attractants.

Whenever possible, it is always the goal of the Game and Fish Department to have bears live out their lives as wild bears, eating natural foods and avoiding future conflicts with people. The sooner bear managers hear about a bear conflict, the more management options they have.

If all bear attractants are secured in residential areas, bears will often just pass through. If a bear begins frequenting a residential area or campground, it may need to be captured and relocated.

Based on decades of experience, when a bear repeatedly receives human food rewards it will likely continue to seek out human-related foods no matter how far away it is relocated. Unfortunately, in these cases the bear has to be removed from the population, or killed.

It is not a decision bear managers take lightly. It is easily one of the worst parts of their job, and frankly, it wrecks their day.

While it doesn’t grab headlines like the capturing or killing of a bear, Game and Fish bear managers spend a great deal of time going door-to-door talking with residents to secure all bear attractants to avoid conflicts.

The Game and Fish Department will always do everything possible to avoid the needless killing of human food-conditioned bears. A number of black bears have been captured and relocated in the Jackson area this summer.


Check out this video clip bear biologists captured earlier this summer of a black bear being released to a remote location on the Bridger Teton National Forest south of Jackson. Note: the screaming fireworks are used as an added deterrent to further discourage the bear from returning to a developed area.

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