Black bears sighted near Casper

Story by Christine Peterson
Star-Tribune
August 17, 2012
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Drought conditions causing a lack of food may be pushing young black bears closer to humans and into towns, according to wildlife officials.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department trapped one yearling male black bear near Garden Creek on Saturday after a two-week search. They relocated him high in the Laramie Range, said Justin Binfet, Casper region wildlife management coordinator for Game and Fish.

Natrona County residents spotted another black bear Wednesday morning near Red Buttes.

“I usually watch birds out my kitchen window and I looked outside and saw this big black back,” said Tom Durst, who first spotted Wednesday’s bear in his backyard.

“I thought, ’Who’s dog is that?’ and then he turned and I saw his head.”

Durst called the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office and his wife took a video of the bear through their window.

Game and Fish officials and sheriff’s deputies looked for the bear but it had moved on, likely searching for food.

After watching video of the bear, Binfet said it was not the same black bear caught Saturday but was another yearling black bear.

Black bear activity continues to rise around the state as fall approaches and the food supply thins.

The Bighorn National Forest instituted its first temporary food storage order this summer because of increased black bear activity.

Officials have caught and relocated black bears near Jackson this summer and killed one problem black bear caught in downtown Cody.

Young black bears wandering on the outskirts of town do not often pose immediate safety risks to people, Binfet said. But, people should stay indoors and should not approach it if they see one.

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