LOCKWOOD - Nothing says you live in Montana quite like a bear in your backyard. For Lockwood resident Kristi Laib, her house has become ground zero for the neighborhood's most recent visitor.
"The bear was on our security cameras like two nights ago, just wandering. But we put our garbage in the garage and try to keep things picked up, so it doesn’t attract him anymore," said Laib Tuesday.
Sharing your neighborhood with animals is nothing new for those that live in the Treasure State. However, a bear in your backyard changes the dynamic a bit.
"I usually walk my dog later at night, but I don’t take him out when it's dark. I try to take him out when it's earlier. We changed that part a little bit, we just don’t want to run up on him and surprise him," added Laib.
Laib says she first saw the bear last week at 4 a.m. when she and her husband were awakened by their dog.
It was in her front yard, then made its way to the backyard and has been a regular visitor since. And it's not the first time a bear has drawn the attention of Lockwood residents.
MTN reached out to Montanan Fish, Wildlife and Parks about whether plans are in place to try to relocate this one but has not heard back as of Tuesday night.
Laib thinks the reason for this bear's frequent visit is pretty typical.
“It probably smelled trash, and it's probably an easy meal rather than foraging for it,” Laib said.
Trash does make for an easy meal, but residents in the area have been taking extra precautions to ensure the bear doesn’t have much luck.
"Pretty much everyone’s careful not to have their garbage out so it doesn’t get into that. And so far, we’ve been very lucky," said Lockwood resident Bill Botnen.
Both residents want the bear to be trapped but not because it's been an issue. They just want the bear to remain alive and get a second chance at life far from people.
“Trap it and move it to the mountains. That’s the best for the bear,” added Botnen.
“I just hope that things work out for the best for the bear, and he gets to live a long and happy life away from civilization,” said Laib.