Bear ‘attractant’ rule will extend to Jan. 6
Date: November 19, 2012
Special food-storage rules have been ordered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest to prevent problems with hungry bears.
Forest Supervisor Jacque Buchanan signed the temporary order that will go into effect Dec. 2. She said the order aims to protect people and bears.
The temporary order extends the dates of the food-storage rules to include the bison hunting season. Under the temporary order, food storage requirements are in effect until Jan. 6. The standing food-storage order was to have been in effect only until Dec. 1.
The food-storage order helps keep forest visitors safe by cutting the potential of bears being attracted to campgrounds, trail heads, picnic sites and other areas frequented by people, said Mary Cernicek, public affairs officer for the Bridger-Teton.
“This is a human health and safety issue,” Cernicek said. “We don’t want people getting hurt out there because bears are attracted to human foods or the carcasses from their hunts.”
A variety of things are classified by the Forest Service as “attractants” that need special handling to prevent them causing conflicts between people and bears.
Among them are human food, including canned food, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, harvested game animals and parts, pet food, processed livestock feed and grains and personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and deodorants. Also included is garbage and empty food and beverage containers. Proper storage methods include placing food and other items in bear-resistant containers or hard-sided vehicles or suspending them at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from any vertical support.
All food and other items that might attract bears must be stored where bears can’t get to them at night and during the daytime when they are unattended. For an “attractant” to be “attended” means that a person must be physically present within 100 feet and in direct sight of the food or carcass.
When food and other things bears like are left lying around, bears are sure to show up, Cernicek said. And that can lead to dangerous conflicts.
“Both humans and bears are increasingly at risk in areas where they coexist and where food is available or improperly stored,” Cernicek said. “It often takes only one occurrence of a bear obtaining an attractant from a camp to become conditioned.”