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Hold the S’mores and be Bear Aware
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Saturday, July 9, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Campers are being asked to quit sharing their s’mores with the bears near Ketchum.

A bear has damaged camping gear and attempted to get inside vehicles in search of easy food rewards in dispersed campsites near the North Fork campground. The campground sits in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area just north of SNRA headquarters near Ketchum.

Campers reported that the bear has walked into numerous campsites over the past several days and that it found unsecured food. Naturally, it came back for more.

Fish and Game officers have deployed a bear trap in the area and will euthanize it if they catch it.

Once a bear becomes food conditioned it poses a dangerous threat to campers and residents in the area because it can become aggressive as it protects their human-sourced food, said Terry Thompson, regional communications manager for Fish and Game.

The SNRA implemented a food storage order a couple years ago to minimize adverse interactions between bears and humans. Food should be stored in a secure location like a camper or vehicle, a bear box or hung in trees.

The SNRA isn’t the only one with bear problems. A food-conditioned black bear has been frequenting the Baumgartner Campground on the Fairfield Ranger District, thanks to food found in overflowing dumpsters.

Thompson offered several tips to keep bears from run-ins with food:

  • Never store any food or scented products in your tent.
  • Store all food, camp garbage and even toothpaste, soap, lotions and bug spray in your vehicle or camper. Never leave food outside on your picnic table, or even in an unattended or improperly stored cooler.
  • A clean camp is very important to not attract bears. Clean all dishes and cooking utensils away from your tent and campsite after each meal.
  • If food storage in a vehicle is not possible, hang your food in a tree 10 to 15 feet off the ground, at least 100 yards from your campsite. Make sure that the bag is at least 4 feet from the tree trunk. Ideally, campers are encouraged to have a bear-resistant food canister to store their camp groceries.
  • Remember that pet food can also attract bears to your campsite. Be sure and secure any pet food after feeding your pet.
  • Do not bury food scraps or pour cooking grease on the ground, or in your fire pit.

To report bear sightings, contact the Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359 weekdays. After hours, call the sheriff’s department.

WATCH FOR MOUNTAIN LIONS, TOO!

A Warm Springs resident reported watching a mountain lion stroll through her backyard a couple days ago. The property sits on Broadway next to the Big Wood River.

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