Is a dead bear! That’s about as simple as we can say it. When people feed wild critters like bears, deer, and other wildlife, they soon become dependable on you as a food source. Our loving instincts for caring, feeding, and nurturing put wild things at risk.
MT FWP had to kill another “problem bear” in Big Sky recently. A 185 lb. black bear was seen in trash cans and took a slice of pizza from a woman’s plate at the Blue Moon Bakery. How did the bear acquire a taste for pizza? Was an appetizer tossed at the bear before it stole another slice? Why was the bear allowed to get so close? Why did this mature bear have no fear of humans?
Bears are cute, until they’re not. Wild critters lose their fear of humans by being around them more frequently. The invitation of food is hard to resist. The recent dead fed bear was 8-10 years old. This bear did not just walk into the resort yesterday. Behaviors are learned over time through repetition. How many times did this bear get fed by Big Sky vacationers? How many cubs learned this trade, and are either dead or still fed, in Big Sky?
Once a wild critter loses its fear of humans, they become unpredictable and dangerous. Children, pets, and well-meaning tourists become victims. Car strikes become more common as the critters trek across roads and into communities where free food is waiting.
The donuts, pizza, cookies, and junk food that people toss their way is not healthy to the wildlife diet. Teaching children, and people, that bears are like Winnie the Pooh puts kids at risk. Wildlife are opportunistic feeders. An easily tossed slice of pizza is an appetizer for the small dog or cat on your porch. This free food signs the death warrant for these creatures. Humans are doing them no favors. They are loving these wild critters to death.
Improper storage of food and trash is an accident waiting to happen. Many tourists come to Big Sky Country thinking that they are in a zoo. In Big Sky, they have built a huge vacation spot in the middle of the bears and wildlife’s living room. Big Sky needs to manage and monitor this rampant feeding issue. If the human behavior does not change, it is just a matter of time until another pet gets munched, person gets attacked, or a fed bear ends up dead. Who’s to blame?
Too many unprotected trash cans, bird feeders, and food sources are common in Big Sky. Attempts to trap this problem bear failed. Even when the bears are trapped where do they go? They are no longer “wild bears”. Other bears and predators will kill them for food. They are often relocated to public lands where hunters and campers get impacted. Even with this bear gone, other bears simply take over, as free food continues to be available.
All because a human think it’s cute to feed the deer, bear, or…
For more Montana Grant, find him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.