Free workshop to address black bear issues in area of Curt Gowdy State Park

© File photo: Black bear
© File photo: Black bear
Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 5:17 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (MEDIA RELEASE) - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will hold a free Bear Wise workshop to address ongoing issues with black bears in and around of Curt Gowdy State Park. 

The free workshop will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 23, at Curt Gowdy State Park visitor’s center conference room, 1264 Granite Springs Rd., off Highway 210 (Happy Jack Road). Black bears are once again active for the summer and have already been spotted in the vicinity of Curt Gowdy State Park.

In 2020, there were numerous conflicts with bears throughout the area, with bears attempting to obtain food rewards from campsites and residences.

”Regardless if you’ve never had problems with bears in the past, we need people to be bear wise,” said Lee Knox, Laramie Region Wildlife Biologist. “This is bear country. We need you to be diligent at all times and it is critical that bears don’t access human food.”

Knox said the increase in bear activity in 2020 was likely due to the lack of natural food sources caused by extremely dry conditions, forcing bears to seek alternative food sources. With more moisture this spring, wildlife biologists are hopeful that we’ll see fewer conflicts with black bears. But cooperation from both homeowners and campers is the key to preventing most bear conflicts. “

When a bear gains access to attractants around a camp or a residence, it is likely to become food-conditioned, and food-conditioned bears are less likely to avoid humans and can become destructive and dangerous in their attempts to obtain human foods,” Knox said.

Here are some tips for a Bear Wise campsite:

• Never store attractants in your tent.

• Store all food and garbage and any other odorous items inaccessible to bears.

• If available store attractants inside a vehicle, hard-sided campers, horse trailers, or bear boxes.

• Store food and coolers suspended from a tree at least 10′ to 15′ high and 4′ feet away from the tree trunk. Sleeping area should be 100 yards away from food storage and the cooking area.

• All pet food and livestock feed should be properly stored.

• Wipe down eating and cooking area after each use.

• Dispose of all garbage properly and pack out any remaining garbage. 

Visitors to developed recreation sites on the Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests must now comply with a forest order that requires proper storage of food and refuse which might attract bears.

The order is necessary to minimize adverse interactions between bears and humans. Residents who live in bear country can prevent attracting bears to their property with these tips:

  • Store garbage where bears cannot gain access to it.
  • Haul garbage to an approved disposal site as often as possible to avoid odor buildup.
  • Electric fencing is the most effective way to keep bears out of orchards and gardens. Pick all fruits and vegetables as soon as possible. Pick up dropped fruit off the ground.
  • Store livestock, poultry feed, and pet food in bear-resistant containers.
  • Dogs and other pets should be kept inside at night. If possible, feed pets inside.
  • Protect bee hives with electric fencing or by elevating the hives on platforms.
  • When feeding birds, feed suet only during the winter months, and suspend hummingbird feeders out of reach of bears in the summer.

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