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Homeowner shoots rummaging black bear in Miles City

Posted at 5:09 PM, May 30, 2019

MILES CITY – A small black bear was shot by a Miles City homeowner Monday after it approached the home three times to hunt through trash, according to state wildlife officials.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks warden were alerted and removed the bear from the area at the southern edge of town. The agency did not release the bear’s injuries or whether it survived.

Wardens responded to the report at 6 p.m. Monday, which caused the bear to avoid hazing attempts and flee. It came back two more times and was shot after it entered a garage, according to FIsh and Wildlife.

Montana law allows people to kill a bear to defend themselves, another person or a domestic dog. However, Fish and Wildlife also notes that people may be able to avoid attracting bears by taking preventive steps.

Once a bear finds easy sources of human food, it can become conditioned to favor them over the more difficult to find and less calorie-laden natural bear foods. And a bear seeking human foods is certain to come in conflict sooner or later with people. The most effective way to save Montana’s bears is to remove any attractants that may draw them into close proximity with people.

Common bear attractants include:

  • Human garbage. Garbage should be stored where bears can neither smell nor gain access to it, either in a bear-proof container or inside a building.
  • Bird feeders. Avoid using bird feeders from March through November; birds don’t need supplemental feed at this time, and bird seed is irresistible to bears.
  • Barbecue grills. Grills often contain food residue and grease.
  • Carcasses.
  • Beehives. Hives, honey and bee larvae are especially attractive to bears.
  • Compost. Anything other than grasses and leaves should not be composted outdoors.
  • Fruit and vegetables. Pick fruit and vegetables as they ripen, and plant your garden as far away from your house as possible.
  • Plants. Avoid plants that attract bears, and use native plant landscaping whenever possible.
    Salt licks, grain or deer blocks.
  • Pet food. Avoid feeding pets outside at dawn or dusk when bears are most active and do not leave their food unattended at any time.

There have been other reports of bears in close proximity to rural residences this season in Region 7, and attractants were also present in those cases.

If you see a bear close to residences, people, pets or livestock in Region 7, please call the regional office at 406-234-0900 or contact Warden Blundetto at 406-853-7900.