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The bears out there

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BIG SKY — A spate of recent bear sightings and human-bear interactions has some in the Big Sky community concerned.

On Sept. 15, Bozeman-based limo service In Style Arrivals posted a video to its Facebook page of a black bear ambling along the sidewalk toward the front door of The Wilson Hotel in Big Sky.

Later that week, on Sept. 18, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens removed a small black bear from a dumpster in the Big Sky Community Park, according to Morgan Jacobson, information and education program manager for FWP’s Region 3, who added that the bear was relocated to the Moose Creek area.

“Our wardens have been busy this summer with bears around residences,” Jacobson said in a Sept. 19 interview. “One of the problems is access to garbage or some kind of food reward. The first question is: Is your garbage secure?”

A Sept. 24 email to EBS included an FWP Facebook post with a photo of an older black bear between 12 and 14 years old that FWP had darted and said it would euthanize due it its label as a “nuisance bear” and because of its age. “When you leave your trash out and feed bears, you are attracting it to the neighborhoods and causing it to be too comfortable in the area,” the FWP post read.

Jacobson warned residents about leaving food rewards out, however unintentionally, and to carry and know how to use bear spray. “As the human population expands in Big Sky, encounters with bears become more likely,” he said. “You need to secure garbage, pet food and bird feeders.”

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