Authorities have expanded the food storage order in the Shoshone Mountains after reports of three black bears in camping areas.
Steve Schact, Shoshone National Forest District Ranger commented,
“Every year we see an influx or an up-tick in activity with black bears as they come out of dens in the spring and the first foods they can get to are usually campers going out and not properly storing their food.”
Schact also said anything with an enticing smell attracts bears.
“Some things that we consider non-foods are food to bears; even any petroleum products, toothpaste, deodorant. If they think it smells like food, they’ll try to eat it and it’s an attractant.”
Keeping your food in your car or in a bear proof container keeps your food safe and avoids conflict with bears or any other animal in the area.
WGFD’s Large Carnivore Conflict Coordinator Brian Debolt reported,
“Storing your food unavailable to not only bears but all animals is just being a good steward to wildlife you know. And you don’t want to condition those bears especially to come into where people are camped to get food because they’ll keep coming and they’ll keep returning and it causes problems not only for yourself but for the next person that comes and camps at that site."
Debolt added once bears are conditioned to human foods they become aggressive and can pass these learned habits to cubs for generations.
“Bears are extremely smart and once they associate people with an easy meal, like left overs or coolers left out, just food on the table unattended, they’re going to be back for more.”
When you’re out camping and find yourself face to face with an aggressive bear officials advise to keep yourself safe first.
“If you have to abandon the camp, call us immediately; don’t put yourself in harm’s way.”
Forest officials said visitors could be fined up to one-hundred dollars if food is not properly stored.