Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Game and Fish: Time to Avoid Bears

 

September 21, 2017

JACKSON – Wyoming Game and Fish officials are asking residents to do their part to avoid conflicts with wildlife in residential areas this fall, particularly moose and bears. The Jackson Game and Fish office typically starts receiving an increased number of calls this time of year from concerned citizens about wildlife in residential areas, especially moose and bears. This has prompted wildlife officials to offer advice on how to avoid problems with these animals.

"We typically get a number of moose calls this time of year because it's the breeding season, the bulls are starting to travel a lot in pursuit of cows and they tend to start rubbing their antlers on whatever they can find," said Aly Courtemanch, Jackson Wildlife Biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "Consequently, we get reports of bull moose with a variety of things wrapped around their antlers, including fencing, rope swings, wind chimes, Christmas lights, lawn furniture, hammocks and so on."

Wildlife officials are asking residents to be aware of this possibility and remove anything on their property that these animals may become entangled in. Also, it is recommended that people check their speed and be watchful for moose while driving, especially at night. Officials report that there have already been at least seven moose hit by vehicles on Wyoming Highway 22 over Teton Pass this summer.

Similarly, Game and Fish officials are also asking residents to avoid potential conflicts with bears by keeping all bear attractants unavailable. "It has been a relatively quiet summer with regard to bear conflicts, but this is typically the time of year we start receiving an increasing number of reports of black bears being seen in developed areas around Jackson," said Jackson Large Carnivore Biologist Mike Boyce. "As natural foods begin to dry up, bears commonly start showing up in developed areas this time of year. While bears may just be passing through, it's important they do not get any food rewards, such as improperly stored garbage, that would encourage them to stay."

Residents are reminded to not put their garbage out the night before pickup and to store garbage and bird feeders properly as per Teton County regulations. The Teton County Land Development Regulation, passed in 2009, applies specifically to identified bear conflict priority areas within the county, but all residents are encouraged to follow the regulations. Garbage is required to be stored in certified bear resistant containers or in a secure building or enclosure at all times. All bird feeders are to be hung with a catch pan, at least 10 feet from the ground, deck railing or patio and 4 feet away from any tree, post, or support structure.

Wyoming Game and Fish bear managers will follow-up on bear sightings and visit with property owners to ensure bear attractants are properly stored to prevent conflicts. Allowing bears to get a food reward conditions them to associate people with food, which may lead to dangerous or destructive behaviors. "By immediately reporting incidents, we can address the cause of the conflict and hopefully prevent future problems," says Boyce. "Public safety is always going to be our highest priority, and if informed right away, we have more options in dealing with a problem bear."

 
 

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