Dayton — An adult male black bear was euthanized by Wyoming Game and Fish personnel in Dayton early Monday morning after receiving repeated food rewards over the past several days, according to a press release from WGFD.
WGFD received the first report of a bear in Dayton on Sept. 9, when a resident near Scott Park called to say a bear had gotten into garbage. The next day, the department received a second report of a bear getting into garbage two blocks away from the first incident.
As reports and sightings continued in the following days, traps were set for the bear, but the effort was unsuccessful. Additionally, WGFD personnel spent several hours going door-to-door in Dayton, notifying residents of the situation and asking them to secure attractants.
At 10:30 p.m. Sunday, a bear was reported walking down Smith Street in Dayton, the press release stated. Responding personnel were unable to locate the bear. At 12:30 a.m. Monday, another sighting of the bear was reported. WGFD personnel located the bear in an unattached garage near a residence. The decision was made to euthanize the bear because of its documented history of getting into trash and willingness to stay in town.
“Often, bears will move through an area but not stay, due to their reluctance to be near humans. But this bear stayed in or near Dayton for over a week because there were multiple places where garbage was accessible to it,” said Dayton Game Warden Dustin Shorma. “Residents were very willing to put trash and other attractants away when we told them a bear was in town, but we are behind the ball at that point.
“We have bears in the town of Dayton every year, so this is not an unusual occurrence. Rather than waiting for one to show up and have conflicts, we hope folks will get in the habit of practicing good bear-proofing habits from April to December every year. During those months, residents should expect that there is always the possibility of a bear coming into town and always having attractants secured will prevent most conflicts.”
Trapping and relocating a bear is the preferred option in cases when conflicts are reported to WGFD immediately and the bear is removed from the area before unnatural behavior becomes ingrained, according to the press release. However, if a bear repeatedly gets rewarded with food items while near humans, it associates people with easy access to food and will be reluctant to leave the area. Management options at that point are limited.
Any incident involving a bear 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.