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It’s the time of year to be especially bear aware

Tim Rains

As the weather starts to get cooler, bears are getting ready for hibernation. That means they are actively seeking foods to put on fat for their long sleep.

Dan Thompson, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s large carnivore supervisor, said because bears are so active right now, hunters, landowners and others who use the outdoors need to be bear aware. Especially in places like the Cody area, where the animals are expanding their range.

“[That’s] part of the reasoning behind the lower elevations on the major river drainage of the South Fork, North Fork, but also expanding into some of the more agricultural landscapes. In areas like that, people just need to be prepared that there's potential for bear activity,” said Thompson.

Thompson said people should carry bear spray and travel in bigger groups. Hunters in northwest Wyoming should make sure to have a clean camp and be extra careful once an animal has been harvested.

“Make sure once you've been successful in harvesting an animal, the vigilance has to increase even more because bears may be seeking out your harvested elk as a food source,” he said.

Thompson said so far this year there have been limited bear-human conflicts. He said that could be due to a good berry year, increased bear education and the fact that more areas are fenced. But he said the animals are still out, so people need to continue to be aware.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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