G&F reminds residents to be Bear Aware
by Wyoming Game & Fish Department
July 17, 2006
Wildlife managers with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department are reminding residents to be vigilant at keeping all attractants unavailable to bears. This reminder is due to reports of bears being sighted around homes in Teton County.
"So far, there have been numerous black bears spotted in residential areas throughout the valley," said Leon Chartrand, State Bear Wise Community Planner with Game & Fish, "We are aware of at least four different bears that have received food rewards in Teton Village, Solitude, and Pacific Creek subdivisions."
As summer progresses berries and other foods are becoming more available for bears around homes and businesses in the lower elevations. "This is also a time when vegetation begins to cure out at higher elevations and bears tend to drift back down to the stream bottoms and wetter areas to forage," said Tim Fuchs, Game Warden with Game & Fish.
Additionally, bears are beginning to display signs of hyperphagia, which is when bears forage nearly around the clock in order to put on as much fat as possible in preparation for winter denning. During hyperphagia, bears are not only active at dawn, dusk, and night, but can also be seen during the day.
Since many berry-producing trees and shrubs are available near or within residential areas of Teton County, "the fate of many bears in Teton County lies in our hands and in our ability to secure garbage and keep our bird feeders away from bears. Not only that," Chartrand added, "but each time one of us allows a bear to get a food reward we directly compromise the safety of our neighbors living next to us." Chartrand went on to say that, because bears do not necessarily discriminate between different homes, this is a community problem that requires a community solution, and that solution begins with the actions of each resident.
The Game & Fish, therefore, encourages all residents in the county, and especially those living in Teton Village, Wilson, next to forest property, as well as along Fall Creek, Fish Creek, and the Snake River Corridor, to keep garbage cans inside enclosed buildings at all times until 1 hour after sunrise on collection day and 1 hour before sunset on the same day. Wildlife managers are also asking residents who choose to feed birds to hang feeders at least 10 feet from the ground, deck railing or patio and 4 feet away from any tree, post, or structure.
For more information, contact Game and Fish at 307-733-2321 or 1-800-423-4113.