Young bear roaming Casper safely rehomed to Bighorns

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - On Sunday, Casper residents got a reminder that Wyoming still is the wild west after a black bear was reported roaming around town.

“A fair amount of folks just saw it actually walking on the sidewalk out in front of their house and so the calls came in,” said Wyoming Game and Fish Casper Wildlife Management Coordinator Justin Binfet.

Calls reporting bear sightings came to officials from the area of 13th and Cottonwood. While original reports counted three bears, it is believed only one bear was ever in the area.

Bears finding their way into town isn’t a regular occurrence, but Binfet said that it does happen in the late spring when young bears are chased off by their mothers.

“The vast majority of times we have bears in town they are young dispersing black bears and it most commonly actually happens in June. It’s certainly not unheard of, but it’s not real common either, it seems like every year in Casper you deal with one or two bear conflicts coming into town,” said Binfet.

Officials believe the young bear followed a creek into town as others have before, but when that happens they wind up scared and confused. It is believed the bear came off the mountain at night, so when human activity picked up in the morning, it was scared and moved into a residential area.

“They’re hard-wired to disperse, and sometimes they find themselves in awkward situations doing that,” said Binfet.

According to Game and Fish, the bear was safely captured and taken to a new home in the southern Bighorns. The capture process involved getting the bear into a tree where it could be safely tranquilized before transporting it.

“We try to take them reasonably far away and put them into some more mountain country, more suitable bear habitat, and try to put them away from people as much as possible,” said Binfet.

The department says if you live in town and see a bear leave it alone and report it. If you live on Casper mountain, bear sightings may be more frequent but if you’re repeatedly seeing a bear near your home call it in.

Game and Fish is also hosting a “Large Carnivore Country Workshop” on June 16. The workshop is designed to focus on how to avoid conflicts with large carnivores while enjoying the outdoors. For more information on the workshop, click here.

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