BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens removed a black bear from an Emerald Hills neighborhood Tuesday after it lost its wariness around humans and broke into homes.
The sub-adult female bear was seen in the east end of Emerald Hills – southeast of Lockwood – for several days and became increasingly unconcerned about people. It broke into at least one home this week and attempted to enter other buildings. The habituation and aggressive behavior prompted game wardens to euthanize the bear Tuesday.
As summer winds down, bears normally eat anything they can to fatten up for winter hibernation. This year’s berry crops in much of south central Montana are thin, driving some bears to lower elevations and more populated areas looking for food. Area residents should not be surprised to see black bears anywhere in south central Montana.
To remain safe and prevent bears from getting in trouble, FWP is asking area residents to be diligent in removing any opportunity for bears to seek or find food in or around their homes, businesses and vehicles. When bears find food they can return and become acclimated to humans, a combination that can lead to dangerous conflicts between bears and people.
Precautions include removing anything that smells like food, including groceries, pet food and garbage from outside areas and vehicles. If people suspect that a bear is in the area, they should close and lock windows and doors to their homes to keep bears out and to keep cooking odors from escaping and attracting wildlife.
Residents should store all garbage, barbecue grills, pet food, horse pellets and livestock feed in a locked building. They should remove all bird feeders and clean up apples, berries and other potential food sources from their yard. Bear-proofing also includes thoroughly cleaning decks and patios around barbecue areas to remove odors from previous cooking.
If bears do not find food in one location, they will look elsewhere. Animals will not stay where they find only clean, bear-proofed homes, businesses and vehicles