Drought could harm berry crop and keep bears coming to town
BILLINGS – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials trapped and euthanized a young female black bear north of Red Lodge June 23 after it broke into a home looking for food.
Despite the homeowners’ efforts to bear-proof their property, the bear was able to pry open a window and enter the house. The people were not home when the bear entered. When they returned, they called FWP officials, who trapped and euthanized the bear.
When bears enter homes, FWP will euthanize them if possible. This type of bear behavior is dangerous to humans and is unnatural for bears.
Red Lodge-area residents have reported seeing other bears around town and in adjacent subdivisions and ranches. FWP bear specialists expect the lack of spring moisture could affect berry crops, leading both black and grizzly bears to seek out easy food sources near homes. If those bears find nothing to eat around homes and businesses, they will move elsewhere.
The incident serves as a reminder to people who live in bear country to take every opportunity to bear-proof their properties. That includes putting all trash in bear-proof containers and keeping all property free of anything that can attract bears who are looking for food.
Residents can avoid conflicts by storing all garbage cans in a locked building until immediately before garbage trucks arrive, storing barbecue grills, pet food, horse pellets and livestock feed in a locked building. Home and business owners can remove all bird feeders and clean up apples, berries and other potential food sources. Bear-proofing also includes thoroughly cleaning decks and patios around barbecue areas to remove odors from previous cooking.