On July 14, Fish and Game captured and euthanized a young male black bear at Stoddard Creek Campground, south of the Montana town of Lima, after it had received multiple food rewards from garbage left out by careless campers. The food-conditioned bear showed no fear of humans and repeatedly ripped open coolers and pushed on tents in search of food, posing a human safety risk.
“Public safety is our number one priority,” says Matt Pieron Regional Supervisor. “This situation could have easily been avoided if campers would have taken the time to secure their garbage and keep it away from bears.”
Bears are located all across Idaho and campers need to be ‘Bear Aware’ and do their part to minimize the chances of a bear visiting their campsite and finding food. Food-conditioned bears can rapidly lose their fear of humans, resulting in bears approaching people and ultimately putting the lives of both humans and bears at risk.
Follow these simple camping tips to prevent attracting wildlife into your camp:
- Never store any food or scented products in your tent.
- Store all food, camp garbage and even toothpaste, soap, lotions and bug spray in your vehicle or camper. Never leave food outside on your picnic table, or even in an unattended or improperly stored cooler.
- A clean camp is very important to not attract bears. Clean all dishes and cooking utensils away from your tent and campsite after each meal.
- If food storage in a vehicle is not possible, hang your food in a tree 10 to 15 feet off the ground, at least 100 yards from your campsite. Make sure that the bag is at least 4 feet from the tree trunk. Ideally, campers are encouraged to have a bear-resistant food canister to store their camp groceries.
- Remember that pet food can also attract bears to your campsite. Be sure and secure any pet food after feeding your pet.
- Do not bury food scraps or pour cooking grease on the ground, or in your fire pit.
Keep humans and bears safe by keeping a clean camp when enjoying the Idaho backcountry. It is up to us to keep Idaho’s wildlife wild.