Game and Fish says bears are out and provides tips to avoid bear conflicts

Game and Fish officials are asking residents to avoid potential conflicts with bears by keeping all bear attractants secure and unavailable.

“We have received reports of bears and bear sign being seen recently, so it is definitely time for everyone to have all bear attractants buttoned up,” said Jackson Large Carnivore Biologist Mike Boyce.

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“Bears are generally concentrated at the low elevations this time of year until the snow melts, so we need to make sure bears do not receive any human food rewards, such as improperly stored garbage, pet or livestock feed and such that would encourage them to stay in developed areas.”

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 applies specifically to the 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 managing a bear conflict situation.”

Those out recreating are also encouraged to be bear aware by traveling in groups, making noise in areas of thick cover and near streams, and carry bear spray as a defense in a close encounter.

To report a potential wildlife conflict people may call the Jackson office of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department at 800-423-4113 (in-state only) or 307-733-2321.

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