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Recent local MTN Television News featured a story on the large number of black bear sightings in southeast Bozeman, with four Bozeman-area euthanizations tallied in 2021 thus far.

With the unbridled growth in the Valley, one can’t help but see glimpses of Crowdorado’s evolving wildlife/human interface starting to take off in Montana.

Colorado has burgeoning black bear populations, and consequently ever-increasing black bear interactions with the human population. These seldom end well for either the bear or the property of the humans. It’s just a matter of time when the bear is a different species.

Human residents along the toe of the Bridgers, Story Hills, Bear Canyon (a-hem), Mount Ellis and the Hyalite /Cottonwood/ Little Bear (a a-hem) Foothills need to manage their habits to help keep the bears from habituating to human largesse. 

Bring in bird feeders at night, erect electric fences to secure small livestock and bee hives.

Garbage cans —I suggest the City of Bozeman, Gallatin County, Waste Management, and Republic Services cooperate to replace — via mandate — all trash totes in east/southeast Bozeman to bearproof trash tote containers.

Work with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to designate and define the interface geographical area and written policy.

Grant-write to help subsidize the program, seeking funds from wildlife organizations. Seek donations from local community. Ask residents to step up and pay a one-time charge for the tote exchange.

Of course, with the subsidization of the development community through incredible property tax increases we are all facing, resources are limited to fund the electric fencing and trash tote swap.

Maybe we should seek some funding from the developers? 

Feel-good green-wash marketing opportunity writ large!

Jeff Ball


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