Despite being warned not to feed bears by FWP Warden Brian Lloyd over two years ago, Big Sky resident Monroe Cameron continued to attract bears to his property with large bowls of dog food, birdfeeders, and buckets of berries. Several bears (and other wildlife) took advantage of these easy meals and started hanging around the neighborhood. Residents and local construction workers took notice and became concerned.
FWP Warden Ryan Gosse confirmed Cameron’s activities in visits to his property early last fall spotting large amounts of food left outside (and no dog). Photo evidence also revealed the bears’ frequent presence. Cameron was cited in September. This week, Cameron pled guilty in Madison County Justice Court to unlawful supplemental feeding. He was fined $285.
Warden Gosse says in addition to the risks this type of activity poses to human safety it’s also onerous to FWP staff and neighbors, and dangerous for the bears.
“Each year our bear specialists and wardens make routine trips to the Big Sky community to explain the importance of securing attractants. It may seem like common sense to some, but with others it requires constant reminders and potential citations. It’s not fair to endanger other members of your community to get a close up view of wildlife.”
Bear specialist Kevin Frey adds that habituating bears threatens their longevity. Bears that routinely have interaction with humans often have to be euthanized, and it’s almost never a bear’s fault.
Image courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks