Bear Wise Jackson Hole
Keep Bears Wild and People Safe!
Human conflicts are the leading cause of bear mortality. The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation works to reduce human and bear conflicts in Teton County. We believe it is important for each citizen in Teton County to respect the wild nature of bears and to avoid attracting bears to developed areas, particularly in areas identified by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as having historically high levels of human/bear conflicts.
To further this effort, we developed Bear Wise Jackson Hole in partnership with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The goal of Bear Wise Jackson Hole is to assist our community in avoiding human/bear conflicts. We are working to accomplish this goal in a variety of ways.
The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation provides community education on living compatibly with bears through public service announcements and ads, community events, publications and educational materials. In 2010, JHWF partnered with Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and Wyoming Game and Fish to purchase a bear education trailer. The trailer has been a huge “attention-getter” at a number of public events with its colorful graphics on the outside and life-size mounts of both a black and grizzly bear that can be wheeled out for display. Other teaching tools in the trailer include bear hides, tracks and skulls, training canisters of bear spray to demonstrate proper use, a bear-resistant garbage can, equipment to set up a mock camp and useful brochures. The bear trailer is being used extensively in Grand Teton National Park this summer. Contact JHWF about bringing the trailer to your event.
Trash handling is a primary source of human/bear conflicts. Once a bear becomes food-conditioned to garbage, it almost inevitably leads to the death of that bear. Reducing the conflicts associated with garbage handling is a top priority. To be able to co-exist with bears in the Tetons in the future, it is critical that bear-resistant garbage systems be implemented and that we develop a greater understanding of bear ecology and how we can bear-proof our communities.
We have worked with neighborhoods and homeowners associations to help them acquire and use certified bear-resistant garbage containers. Teton Village Improvement Service District, Ellen Creek, Owl Creek and Solitude home owners associations all voted to require home owners to purchase and use certified bear-resistant containers. For more information on what a “bear-resistant container" is, please go to: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearcont.htm
The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation supported amendments to the Teton County Land Development Regulations that went into effect on July 1, 2009. These regulations require individual residents and businesses to use bear-resistant garbage containers. The regulations apply to Teton County properties located in Bear Priority Conflict Area 1 that are west of the Tetons, north of Hwy 22 or north of Broadway in Jackson. These same regulations will go into effect for areas south of Hwy 22 and south of Broadway in Jackson on July 1, 2010.
Forty percent (40%) of human/bear conflicts in Teton County are related to bird feeders. For a bear, bird seed is a tasty high calorie, low effort snack. Unfortunately, bears who become conditioned to getting food from bird feeders often get into other trouble around people's homes with garbage, pet food, animal feed, fruit trees or gardens.
The Land Development Regulations that went into effect on July 1, also require that from April 1 - November 30, all bird feeders (including hummingbird) must be hung at least 10 feet high and four feet away from any supporting structure and have a catch pan for seed. JHWF is working to educate people about the existence of this regulation and provide information on other ways to enjoy birds around your home.