Wildlife agents killed a female black bear in Sheridan early Friday after the bear went on a food raid in town for the second time in two years.
The bear, thought to be about 6 years old, was cornered at about 9:45 a.m., up a tree in a residential yard near Edwards Drive, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
After wardens saw that it had an ear tag, indicating that it had previously been caught and released, they decided to kill it. The agency didn’t give any details regarding whether the bear was shot with a firearm or killed by other means.
However, one Sheridan resident who preferred to remain anonymous told Cowboy State Daily that the bear was shot and the person who shot the bear had a legal in-season bear tag.
Records revealed that the same bear had been caught in Sheridan on June 9, 2021. There had been reports of it raiding garbage cans for several days prior.
At that time, the bear was tranquilized and taken to a remote section of the northern Bighorn Mountains, where it was released back into the wild.
This time around, there were reports of the bear being spotted in a neighborhood near Emerson Park late Thursday and early Friday. The second offence was too much, according to Game and Fish.
“Unfortunately, even though it has been two years, the relocation attempt was unsuccessful,” Game and Fish Sheridan Region Wildlife Supervisor Dustin Shorma said in a statement Friday afternoon. “The bear had traveled a long distance to return to the Sheridan area and showed no aversion to being in a residential setting around people.”
Black Bears Cause Trouble Elsewhere
Though not as feared as grizzles, black bears aren’t entirely harmless.
The recent story of a black bear that shrugged off being hit with an entire can of bear spray before making off with a hiker’s dog in Canada prompted Game and Fish Large Carnivore Specialist Dan Thompson to respond with, “Holy crap!”
The most recent fatal black bear attack in this region was in spring 2021, when Laney Malavolta, 39, was killed by a female black bear with two yearling cubs near Durango, Colorado.
Her body was partially eaten, according to reports.
Black bear attacks on people or pets are almost always driven by hunger, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bear biologist Chris Servheen recently told Cowboy State Daily, adding that grizzly bears usually attack because somebody startled them.
But aggressive black bears are after a meal, Servheen said.
“Most attacks by grizzlies are because of surprise encounters with people,” he said. “When black bears attack, it’s not because they’re surprised, it’s because they’re looking for something to eat.”
However, black bear attacks are a vanishingly rare anomaly, he said.
“You’re much more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a black bear,” he said.
Mark Heinz can be reached at Mark@CowboyStateDaily.com