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Black bear euthanized in Bozeman after several conflicts with humans

Wildlife officials euthanized a black bear in Bozeman this week after several conflicts with humans and livestock.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was first notified on June 28th of a two-year-old male bear when it was seen at a Bozeman residence in the middle of the day.

Additional reports followed on July 2 when the bear was spotted in other residential areas along Bridger Drive and Hillside Lane.

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A press release states a homeowner found the bear in a pen with goats and chickens, chasing the animals, on July 5. The homeowner shot at the bear, which is allowed by Montana law if property owners find predators in the act of pursuing livestock. The bear left after the incident.

On July 9, the bear visited a residence in the Story Hills area during the day. It was on a deck and at the back door of the house, according to a press release. Residents attempted to chase it off and deter it with rubber slugs, but the bear did not leave.

FWP biologists set traps and made repeated attempts to capture the bear as its presence was reported. Photos, videos and descriptions from witnesses indicate the same bear was involved in each incident.

Additional reports came on July 11 as the bear was seen on Haggerty Lane and, later, following a woman who was walking two dogs in Lindley Park. The bear was eventually darted and captured that day along Bozeman Creek with help from the Bozeman Police Department and Animal Control Officers.

FWP’s bear management policies guide the agency’s actions in dealing with captured bears. In this case, the bear was clearly habituated to receiving food rewards in urban areas and being undeterred by humans, posing risks to property and public safety. Based on these factors, FWP decided to euthanize this bear humanely, according to a press release.

Bear captures in urban areas are not uncommon in southwest Montana. So far this year, FWP has captured five bears in Gallatin County. Most of those bears were relocated.

While the circumstances of any bear capture can vary, food rewards from humans are a common factor in most bear captures. The bear captured this week frequented homes with bird feeders, according to the press release.

Other black bears have been euthanized in Montana this summer due to conflicts.

On June 7, wildlife officials euthanized a black bear in Conrad due to its previous history of conflict and its attraction to town.

Glacier National Park rangers euthanized a black bear in early June after learning it had broken into a concession employee housing cabin.

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