Five Black Bears Euthanized In Montana

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Dept., Bear Hunting Magazine

Montana state wildlife officials have trapped and euthanized five black bears near Heron, Montana this past week. They were listed in the state's news release as being "food-conditioned black bears" that were put down "in response to what appears to be an illegal bear feeding issue."

Reports and observations showed that a local resident allegedly fed bears, creating a public safety hazard. The Montana FWP set traps for the bears in the immediate area to address the hazard of food-conditioned bears roaming in a residential area.

"This is a very unfortunate situation," stated a FWP Warden. "These bears were extremely habituated and food conditioned, and they posed a danger to the people who live in the area. The public came to us concerned about these bears being fed and the potential danger to local residents."

It was also noted that feeding bears and other wildlife is against the law in Montana. The case is being investigated and wildlife officials are working with the Sanders County Attorney to see whether charges will be brought in the case.

Officials do not know how many bears have been food-conditioned at the site. Two other bears recently were harvested by hunters in the general vicinity and may have been part of the group that was fed.

Local residents are asked to be cautious as there may be other bears in the area who continue to associate people with food. The FWP will continue to trap and watch the area over the next several days until it is judged that the food-conditioned bears have been removed.

Wildlife Managers emphasize the necessity of euthanizing the food-conditioned black bears, rather than releasing them to another location. They stated it would be irresponsible to release these potentially dangerous bears somewhere else when the bears are in such a food-conditioned state as they have a history of attacking humans.

"This is a very unfortunate example of how feeding bears directly leads to their death," a wildlife expert stated. "This is why we tell the public that feeding a bear is the same as signing its death warrant."

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