Posted: Jul 22, 2013 8:29 PM by MTN News
BILLINGS - A black bear was euthanized after it broke into two occupied tents at a Forest Service campground south of Red Lodge.
During the early morning of Saturday July 13, campers at the Sheridan Campground say a bear ripped through a pop-up tent trailer and a backpacking tent. Both tents were occupied at that time but the campers were not injured.
U.S. Forest Service officials learned of the incident on July 15. At that time the campground was closed and a bear trap was set.
A bear that fit the description of the troublesome black bear was captured on July 16 by Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists. It was then euthanized for the safety of people in the area.
The Sheridan Campground is now reopened, but only to hard-sided campers.
FWP wildlife biologist Shawn Stewart said he heard reports of a black bear rummaging around cabins south of Red Lodge this summer. Bears can become habituated to humans if they find food around cabins, campgrounds or vehicles.
Black bears and grizzly bears live throughout south central Montana. If they encounter unsecured garbage, dog food, bird feeders, barbecue grills or other food sources, the bears will return and could become habituated to people. If bears lose their fear of people, it almost always is fatal for the bear.
FWP is advising cabin owners to bear-proof their property by removing anything that looks or smells like food. That includes cleaning up and locking up garbage and garbage cans, cleaning and storing barbecue grills, emptying birdfeeders, storing pet food and livestock feed supplements inside and regularly cleaning up around gardens and fruit trees.
Campers should adhere to backcountry bear-safety protocols, which call for storing anything that smells like food - including dishes and clothing used during cooking - in secured vehicles, bear-proof containers or away from tents.