Bear In Home

Jackson Hole News & Guide, Mike Koshmrl- A black bear broke into an occupied Alpine home over the weekend, prompting wildlife managers to capture the juvenile male bruin and ultimately put him down.

By the account of Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Mark Gocke, the bear was making a ruckus after he entered the house around 6:30 a.m., but the residents assumed it was their daughter loudly putting together breakfast. The noise, however, went “on and on.”

 “They went to check it out and it was a black bear and it had strewn garbage all over,” Gocke said.

The bear, a 120-pound 2-year-old, that had probably recently split from his mother, did not cause much serious damage to the home. He entered through the front door “pretty easily,” Gocke said.

The homeowners were able to shoo the young bear out of their residence without the assistance of law enforcement officers or Game and Fish carnivore specialists.

“But even then it hung around and got into a BBQ grill and then came back and tried to re-enter again,” Gocke said.

The behavior was bold enough to prompt Game and Fish’s Mike Boyce to set a couple of culvert traps for the animal, which had fled by the time he arrived. The operation was successful, and the bear was euthanized, Gocke said.

The black bear was the second of the year to be put down after causing humans problems in Star Valley. About three weeks ago another bruin was getting into trouble in an Alpine neighborhood and was trapped and moved to the Squirrel Meadows area off Grassy Lake Road. Another run of problems near a Leigh Creek subdivision north of Alta took place, and the bruin was caught again and killed.

Beyond the Star Valley incidents, it’s been a relatively low-conflict year in developed portions of Game and Fish’s Jackson Region, Gocke said. But residents shouldn’t let their guard down, he said, because this is the time when animals come out of the mountains and forests in search of easy meals.

“Berries usually hold bears out of developed areas for a little while,” Gocke said, “but once they start drying up these bears really start feeding around the clock.”

Black bears don’t regularly break into occupied buildings, but from time to time ursus home invasions do occur in Jackson Hole. In September 2015 a black bear sow and cub busted through a Hog Island home’s screen door and had to be ushered out by Teton County sheriff’s deputies. The previous year a male bear entered a Teton Village home through a bathroom window, and that spring another bruin broke into a cabin near Jenny Lake. All of those animals were captured and euthanized.


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