Black Bear Activity on the Rise in Curt Gowdy State Park Area
Black bear activity has increased in the area of Curt Gowdy State Park, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is urging campers and residents to be "Bear Wise."
The agency says there have been numerous issues with black bears attempting to obtain food rewards from campsites and homes.
Wildlife managers recently removed a problematic adult male bear from the population, but Cheyenne Game Warden Spencer Carstens says "there are several more active in the area."
"Regardless if you’ve never had problems with bears in the past ... we need you to be diligent at all times," said Lee Knox, Laramie Region Wildlife Biologist. "We can’t trap our way out of this problem."
Knox says the increase in bear activity is likely due to the lack of natural food sources caused by extremely dry conditions, forcing bears to seek alternative food sources.
"When a bear gains access to food in a camp or around a home, it is likely to become food-conditioned," said Knox. "Food-conditioned bears are less likely to avoid humans and can become destructive and dangerous in their attempts to obtain human foods."
Here are some tips for a Bear Wise campsite:
- Never store attractants in your tent.
- Store all food and garbage and any other odorous items inaccessible to bears.
- If available store attractants inside a vehicle, hard-sided campers, horse trailers, or bear boxes.
- Store food and coolers suspended from a tree at least 10’ to 15’ high and 4’ feet away from the tree trunk. Sleeping area should be 100 yards away from food storage and the cooking area.
- All pet food and livestock feed should be properly stored.
- Wipe down eating and cooking area after each use.
- Dispose of all garbage properly and pack out any remaining garbage.
Residents who live in bear country can prevent attracting bears to their property with these tips:
- Store garbage where bears cannot gain access to it.
- Haul garbage to an approved disposal site as often as possible to avoid odor buildup.
- Electric fencing is the most effective way to keep bears out of orchards and gardens. Pick all fruits and vegetables as soon as possible. Pick up dropped fruit off the ground.
- Store livestock, poultry feed, and pet food in bear-resistant containers.
- Dogs and other pets should be kept inside at night. If possible, feed pets inside.
- Sheep should be closely herded. Consider electric fencing for pigs. Haul dead livestock to a landfill or rendering plant.
- Protect bee hives with electric fencing or by elevating the hives on platforms.
- When feeding birds, feed suet only during the winter months, and suspend hummingbird feeders out of reach of bears in the summer.