While Shane Rothman was driving home on Snow King Drive he saw a bear coming down the hill toward a couple of green Wyoming Game and Fish Department trucks. Rothman pulled over for a few minutes to take a look.
Rothman has been living in Jackson for around 10 years, and that was the first time he had seen a bear in town.
“We’ve definitely known that they’ve been around,” he said. “This is not too surprising.”
The chocolate-brown black bear casually came down the hill, lured by the smell of the roadkill that Game and Fish used to bait him into a trap around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Redmond Street and Snow King Drive.
“The bear was pretty nonchalant and not afraid of people, and that is something you don’t want to see in a wild animal,” said Mark Gocke, public information specialist for Game and Fish. “That’s pretty bold for a wild bear to be doing.”
Game and Fish received several phone calls, videos and pictures of the bear in the past two weeks. The adult male weighed approximately 250 pounds and was noted to be in healthy shape. After talking to numerous sources who had seen the bear, Game and Fish believed he had not had any human or pet food.
“Eventually it was going to find a food reward,” Gocke said. “It was exhibiting behavior of a bear that has gotten a food reward: more bold, showing up at houses and porches during the day, not being afraid of people.”
Game and Fish was planning to relocate the bear within the next day.
“The bottom line is, we want to give its best chance of living out its life in the wild — move it far away from development,” Gocke said.
There have been other reports of bears frequenting the Snow King area, but it is typically due to the bears’ preparation for hibernation. They will make their way closer to civilization to find berry bushes. Game and Fish encourages residents to wait to put trash out until the morning and secure food.
“People need to be diligent about keeping their garbage and pet food unavailable,” Gocke warned. “That’s what is predominantly involved in bear conflicts in the area.”