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Bear euthanized after breaking into vehicle at campground

by Daily Inter Lake
| July 9, 2024 5:00 PM

State wildlife officials trapped and euthanized a black bear at a Northwest Montana campground on Monday after it broke a vehicle window to get food in a cooler.

Montana Fish, Wildlife  Parks received reports of the bear getting into unsecured food at the Flathead National Forest’s Emery Bay Campground and Goose Head dispersed camping site, also known as FK & L, on the north end of Hungry Horse Reservoir.

Conflicts included breaking a window of a vehicle to access a cooler and getting into a tent at Emery Bay. A camper was cited for disobeying the Flathead Forest food storage order.

Montana Fish, Wildlife  Parks set traps July 4 and the Hungry Horse Ranger District closed the camping sites. State officials captured the male bear on July 8 and euthanized it due to so-called food conditioning. The Hungry Horse Ranger District later lifted the area closure order.

Food-conditioned and habituated bears are those that have sought and obtained unnatural foods, destroyed property or displayed aggressive, non-defensive behavior towards humans, officials said. Once a bear has become food-conditioned, hazing and aversive conditioning are unlikely to be successful in reversing this type of behavior. Food-conditioned and habituated bears are not relocated due to human safety concerns.

Bear aware tips

- Keep food and anything with a scent out of tents.

- Dispose of garbage in bear resistant bins; otherwise, take it with you and dispose of it properly elsewhere. Do not bury or burn garbage.

- Follow local land management agency food storage orders and properly store unattended food and anything else with a scent.