By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A young female black bear was killed last week after it broke into a Montana home looking for food, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials.
Despite the Red Lodge homeowners’ efforts to bear-proof their property, the bear was able to pry open a window and enter the house on June 23. No one was at home when the bear let itself in.
When the homeowners returned, they called Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials, who trapped and euthanized the bear.
When bears enter homes, FWP will kill them if possible, as this type of bear behavior is dangerous to humans and is unnatural for bears.
Red Lodge-area residents have reported seeing other bears around town and in adjacent subdivisions and ranches. FWP bear specialists expect the lack of spring moisture could affect berry crops, leading both black and grizzly bears to seek out easy food sources near homes.
If those bears find nothing to eat around homes and businesses, they will move elsewhere.
The incident serves as a reminder to people who live in bear country to take every opportunity to bear-proof their properties, which includes putting all trash in bear-proof containers and keeping all property free of anything that can attract bears who are looking for food, the officials said.
Residents can avoid bear conflicts by storing all garbage cans in a locked building until immediately before garbage trucks arrive, storing barbecue grills, pet food, horse pellets and livestock feed in a locked building.
Home and business owners can remove all bird feeders and clean up apples, berries and other potential food sources.
Bear-proofing also includes thoroughly cleaning decks and patios around barbecue areas to remove odors from previous cooking.
The incident occurred not long after Grand Teton National Park officials moved a grizzly bear to a new spot in the park because it received food from humans over a two-day period.
Park spokewoman Denise Germann told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that the decision was made to relocate the bear to try and break the cycle it had developed of approaching humans in hopes of some kind of food reward.
She added that it was irresponsible for people to feed grizzlies, either directly or indirectly.
“When people take these actions, there are consequences, many of which are for the bear, who can either be relocated or removed,” Germann said. “It’s an awesome opportunity to come to the park and see a bear in the wild, but we also have to be good stewards of the land, which includes not feeding wildlife.”