Black bears are increasingly active Sheridan County

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has recently received numerous reports of black bear conflict activity in several locations in Sheridan County. Dayton Game Warden Dustin Shorma indicated there have been recent black bear sightings in the Ranchester and Dayton areas, along with some garbage issues in Tongue Canyon and a bear in some ranch buildings just outside Parkman. Sheridan Game Warden Bruce Scigliano received reports of a bear that wandered into a garage in Story and broke a window, a bear getting into unsecured soda pop outside a camper in the Fool Creek area and a bear in a subdivision south of Sheridan. Shorma said, “This kind of activity is something we normally see after a prolonged dry summer; but this year it appears the bears are desperate for something to eat, and are wandering well off the mountain looking for food items.” Sheridan Wildlife Biologist Tim Thomas warns, “Allowing bears to get a food reward conditions them to associate people with food, which may lead to dangerous or destructive behaviors. By immediately reporting incidents, we can address the cause of the conflict and hopefully prevent it from happening again. Public safety is always going to be our highest priority, and if informed right away, we have more options in dealing with a problem bear.” Scigliano agrees, noting, “A bear sighting is not often a cause for alarm, but a call for increased vigilance.” The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is recommending people take the following actions to avoid conflicts between bears and people: • Minimize odors and availability of food rewards throughout your yard. • Place garbage cans in a sturdy shed or in a bear resistant trash receptacle. • Take down or remove bird feeders if they are in reach of a bear. • Keep barbecue grills clean and grease free. • Store pet and livestock feed inside a sturdy building. Bears can be potentially dangerous, but many times they will leave the area if you make your presence known. If the bear is encountered here are a few recommendations: • If you see the bear but it is not close, move away from the area. • If the bear approaches DO NOT run. Try to remain calm and back away slowly. If the bear continues to approach you, shout to try to scare it away. If several people are present they should group together. • Have bear spray handy and know how to use it in case the bear attacks. For more information on how to avoid attracting bears to your house or cabin and what to do if you encounter a bear go to the Be Bear Aware website at *Feature Photo: h/t Dean Fikar/shutterstock*