Bears attracted to improperly disposed carcasses, expert warns

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Improperly disposed deer carcasses have been attracting bears too close to human habitation, a local bear expert warns.

Kim Annis, a bear management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said bear tracks, including those of the grizzly, have been seen “close to town” near intersections and parking lots where hunters have discarded deer carcasses where they’re not supposed to.

“(The bears) would not be coming this close to town and home if people were not improperly disposing of carcasses in these areas,” she said. “If the deer carcasses weren’t there, I believe the bears wouldn’t be either.”

Annis noted that one of the areas — the parking lot at Sheldon Mountain Road off Pipe Creek Road — is not far from the Lincoln County Landfill, which accepts game carcasses for free.

In another instance, Annis said someone dropped off a carcass near the end of someone’s driveway.

Leaving deer carcasses near where humans regularly spend time is not only littering, Annis said, but also unethical.

“If you want to get rid of it, be smart where you’re doing it,” she said.

If the landfill is inconvenient, Annis recommended driving several miles down a Forest Service road and dumping a carcass down a steep bank.

“There’s lots of better options than the choices some people are making,” she said. “And we don’t want anyone to get injured because of those poor choices.”

Annis said on Friday that no conflicts between people and bears due to a discarded carcass had yet been reported.

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