A FED CRITTER …
By Montana Grant

Posted: July 18, 2019

Is a Dead Critter!!!  Why people feed wild animals is beyond me. Once the supplemental feedings become a part of a critter’s life, they become dependent upon them. When the feeders run empty, the trained “People Friendly” bears become a nuisance.

Montana does not allow feeding wildlife. Hunters in other states can create feed piles to draw in the game. Turkeys, deer, elk, antelope, and many other critters are suckers for the free and easy food. These states also have too many critters and this is a way that the wildlife agencies promote larger harvests.

Here in Bozeman, another black bear has been killed thanks to feeders! Some of the feeding is intentional and some is ignorance. When you live in Bear Country, trash, food scraps, and other attractants must be considered. Bears love to visit Bird Feeders. Garbage cans are snack stops. Pet food also helps provide a quick snack. Then the animal lovers that want to see their wild pets in their yards put out a spread. The problem is that all these food visits are around residences and in the city limits. Public safety is now an issue.

You can’t control wildlife behavior. They are animals and not trained pets. The FWP stated that “the bear was “euthanized” because it was receiving food rewards. It now posed a risk to public safety.” Since the bear can’t unlearn the free handouts, control becomes a fatal alternative. This latest 2-year-old bear discovered this the hard way.

This is the second bear “Euthanized” this year in Bozeman. 3 others were trapped and relocated. All these bears followed the same food line. The cities extensive trail system meanders through the watersheds and communities that these bears follow. Once they discover a food source, they are there for dinner every day. Small dogs and cats, chickens, goats, kids, and gardens become part of the food chain.

After many complaints of this bear following hikers, disturbing pets and livestock, chasing dogs, damaging chicken coops and trash cans, the death warrant was signed.

Even bird feeders can be a problem. Besides attracting 4 legged beasts, birds also become dependent upon a regular meal from these Fast Food feeders. If the feeder becomes empty in the middle of the winter, too bad for the birds. Spring through Fall feeding is not necessary. Nature provides plenty of food. The Birdwatching need to have birds outside your windows only creates a health problem of waste on your windows and decks. Cats learn to prey upon your feathered friends. Once a wild critter lets its fear of humans down, they become vulnerable.

People must learn to not feed wildlife! Since we can’t control wild animal behavior, perhaps the better approach is to modify human behavior. Even though these animal lovers mean well, nature can take care of itself. Feeding these critters is loving them to death.

In the wild world, it is “survival of the fittest”, not the fattest!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, find him enjoying nature at www.montanagrantfishing.com.