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Techniques to protect your animals and bears

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The Wyoming Game and Fish Department are asking the public to take steps in preventing bear interactions this year. 

According to Wyoming Game and Fish Department Large Carnivore Conflict Coordinator Brian DeBolt, even experienced recreationalist or rural homeowners who have lived in bear country for years can wind up in a close encounter or conflict situation with a bear. He said the Game and Fish want people to stay diligent to avoid any potential bear conflicts.

Living in Sheridan and Johnson County means access to some of the most beautiful wildlands in the US, but it also means a greater chance of interactions with bears. 

Many bears will run at the sound or sight of a human, unless they have grown wise that humans present little threat. After the fear has gone, the draw to any and all food sources is too tempting and bears become conditioned, returning to the sight to seek the reward. 

With the self-sufficient Cowboy State spirit, many residents have begun to raise smaller breeds of animals, converting backyards into small farms with chickens or goats.

While appearing on Sheridan Media’s Public Pulse, Game and Fish Public Information Specialist Christina Schmidt, suggested taking a few steps to ensure that the animals are protected from bears.

C. Schmidt

Schmidt recommends placing feed into a hard sided shed or garage, as the feed will attract bears as much as the animals. 

Schmidt suggested taking a walk around one’s property and thinking like a bear, if there is a food source openly available a bear will more than likely find and eat it. Even small bird feeders with seeds have been known to attract bears.

Emplacing feeders out of a bear’s reach and putting them away at night can help to keep bears from finding them. Electric fences have proven very effective in the past and are a low cost preventive measure against bears to keep them from entering pens and coops. 

Taking steps such as those recommended on the bear-wise webpage, found here, not only protects your animals and property but the bears as well. 

In many instances of bear encounters, local law enforcement and Game and Fish wardens can relocate the bear. Although a costly and dangerous endeavor for the officials and the bear, this technique often works. But in some cases, a bear who no longer fears humans will seek out human produced food sources no matter where they are relocated. In those cases, the bear must be destroyed in the interest of public safety.

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