WG&F destroys campsite bear
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
June 21, 2013
Despite the varied stories circulating, Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials were clear in what happened in and around campsites near New Fork Lakes over the weekend. A yearling black bear had apparently received food rewards and began hanging out in campsites near humans. The adage "a fed bear is a dead bear" once again rang true as state wildlife officials were forced to kill the bear for its repeated brazen behavior and its unwillingness to keep a distance from humans.
WG&F bear management specialist Zach Turnbull said the bear behaved boldy and was undeterred by efforts to move it from areas occupied by humans. Deeming the bear a potential threat to human safety, Turnbull said he decided to err on the side of caution and remove the bear from the population when the opportunity arose.
WG&F reminds those recreating in the region to keep clean camps and be sure that bears do not have access to human foods and refuse.
Camping in bear countryWhen you are camping, keeping a clean camp is the key to human safety and is the law on most U.S.Forest Service lands in northwest Wyoming.
Bears have a highly evolved sense of smell and are strongly attracted to human food, garbage, livestock feed, and game meat. When a bear gains access to attractants in a camp, it is likely to become food-conditioned. Food-conditioned bears are less likely to avoid humans and can become destructive and even dangerous in their attempts to obtain human foods. A bear that has received a food reward from a camp will likely return or stay in the area, and may become a problem for other people.
Attractants should be stored in vehicles, hard-sided campers or trailers, or bear boxes which are provided at most forest service campgrounds. Remember that attractants include stoves, grills, coolers, pet food, and toiletry items as well as human food and garbage. It is best not to burn or bury any trash or leftover food in a fire pit.
In a backcountry camping situation, hang food and other attractants from a tree or meat pole, 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from the vertical support. Meat and food storage poles are provided at many popular campsite locations and should be located at least 100 yards from your sleeping area.