SHERIDAN — An adult male black bear was euthanized by Game and Fish personnel in Story Oct. 12 after breaking into a secured shed near a residence.
Game and Fish received a report from a Story resident Oct. 11 that his shed had been broken into and damaged the previous night, with the carcass of his harvested deer drug away. Suspecting a black bear, Game and Fish personnel set a trap for the bear that evening.
When personnel later checked the trap, they discovered the bear had an ear tag, identifying it as a bear that was previously caught for nuisance behavior on June 12, 2018.
At that time, the bear was accessing unsecured garbage and grills at a business in Big Horn.
The bear was trapped and relocated to the head of Columbus Creek in the Sawmill Flats area of the northern Bighorns, more than 30 linear miles from Big Horn.
Because the bear had previous history of accessing food rewards near humans and because in this second situation it escalated its behavior and became more aggressive in its attempt to get food, the decision was made to euthanize it.
“Trapping and relocating a bear that is getting human-provided food rewards, such as garbage or bird feeders is not always successful,” said Sheridan Wildlife Biologist Tim Thomas.
“As we see in cases like this, bears will sometimes continue to seek out human habitations or return to where they were captured in their search for food. We really need the public’s help to secure human-provided food rewards and prevent bear conflicts in the first place. Once a bear receives food while near humans or residences, the chances are low that the bear will have no further conflicts with humans.”
Bears will be active for several more weeks before going into dens for the winter. During this time, they are seeking out food resources to increase their body weight in preparation for hibernation. Area residents should continue to keep garbage, grills, bird feeders, pet food and other potential food items secured and out of the reach of bears.
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.