Sweet-Tooth Black Bear Breaks-Ins in Bighorn National Forest
Written by Andrew-Rossi on July 18, 2022
One black bear is suspected of three separate break-ins in Bighorn National Forest – a reminder of how easily human-bear conflicts can start and how food needs to be secure in the wilderness.
Human-bear conflicts are one of the realities of outdoor recreation in northwest Wyoming. Because of this, people need to take proper precautions in the wilderness to keep bears away from their food and property.
Bighorn National Forest is dealing with a series of bear break-ins reported in several different locations. According to forest officials, one black bear has been seeking food in camp areas – even tearing open campers to get goodies.
“We have reports of a bear getting into camps in the Bull Creek, Burgess Junction, and Little Willow areas,” reads a July 13 Facebook post on the break-ins. “It is obvious the bear has encountered human food and is associating camps with food. Use caution and keep a clean camp!”
There’s nothing new on the list of steps forest and wildlife officials ask visitors to follow to avoid human-bear conflicts – keep camps clean, secure food and garbage, and get everything bear-proof.
Bighorn National Forest is using the frequent bear break-ins as an opportunity to remind forest visitors.
“A tidy camp equals healthier wildlife and a happier you. Leaving out food and garbage can attract wildlife, and while fun to see, encounters could end up bad for both animals and people. Please store all food in bear-proof containers (most coolers are not bear-proof), your vehicle, or a camper. In some cases, it is best not to leave food too long, even in campers or vehicles.”
In this case, the consequences are clear. Included with the bear-proofing tips is a photo of a camper with a gaping hole in the back. The hole was made by the black bear detecting food inside.
“This damaged camper photo is from the Bighorn National Forest,” the post concludes. “It was caused by a black bear attempting to break into an unattended camper for candy.”
Bears that become too accustomed to humans and their food resources are usually euthanized for human safety. Last week, Wyoming Game and Fish killed one of Grizzly 399’s four famous cubs after 13 incidents with humans, most involving food.
“Remember,” the post concludes, “a fed bear is a dead bear.”