Friday, September 18, 2020
When Garbage is Just Too Tempting
The bears were not very good about picking up and throwing away their supper after they were finished with it outside a home in Warm Springs. COURTESY: Idaho Fish and Game
Wednesday, August 19, 2020


A bunch of new garbagemen are on patrol in Warm Springs and other neighborhoods. And they’re looking for the juiciest steak trimmings and salad fixings they can find.

Black bears and their cubs are making the rounds of garbage cans throughout the Wood River Valley.

During the early morning hours of Monday a large sow and cub were found in the Warm Springs area with the sow gaining access to at least four unsecured garage cans. Blaine County deputies and an Idaho Fish and Game officer responded to the scene, monitoring the sow and cub as they ate their way through leftover lasagna, refried bean casserole and a few bites of cheesecake. Finally, near daybreak, both bears wandered into the surrounding timber.

Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw extolled that Ketchum residents, especially those in the Warm Springs neighborhood, must secure garbage overnight.

“These bears necessitate a change in our behavior,” he said. “It is our priority to keep our residents and visitors safe and our wildlife wild.”

The reminder came following the euthanizing of a bear in East Fork south of Ketchum that had found the neighborhood a veritable smorgasbord topped off by honey from several bee boxes.

A bear learns quickly to associate a food rewards with a residential garbage can, said Conservation Officer Brandyn Hurd. It’s much harder to change that learned behavior. So, the solution is to never let a black bear learn that garbage can provide a source of food.

If garbage continues to be left out and the bears are repeatedly rewarded with human-provided food, the Department may find it necessary to euthanize both bears if they become a threat to public safety. Relocation is typically unsuccessful, and the cub is too young to survive without its mother.

“We all know the saying: A fed bear is a dead bear,” said Hurd. “Our goal continues to be keeping our bears wild by not allowing them to get a food reward from people.”

Help save the bears by:

  • Keeping household garbage secured in a garage or other enclosed area.
  • Placing your garbage container curbside on the morning of pickup, not the night before.
  • Storing leftovers or discarded fish or meat bones, which give off a strong odor, in your freezer until the day of garbage pickup.
  • Keeping attractants like BBQ grills, bird seed or pet food stored where bears cannot find them.
  • Taking down bird feeders from May through October or placed well out of reach of bears.



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