“It’s been here all the week,” said Shelly Lehman Friday. “I learned about it, I think, on Monday (Sept. 3).”
Lehman lives on Lane 12, one mile west of Kamm’s Corner.
Last week, she was going for a stroll in her locality, as she is apt to do.
She said a neighbor asked her, “Didn’t you know there is a grizzly in the area?”
She did then!
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department advised her to pack a gun or bear spray for walks.
She was watching shadows during the day and skipping trips to her mailbox after dark. She was nervous at night unloading her sweets from her vehicle after throwing a Dove Chocolate party.
“It was kind of unnerving,” Lehman said.
Last week, a motorist reported nearly hitting a bear on Badger Basin Highway (Wyo. 294).
The bear had been camping in a corn field during the day. He consumed a neighbor’s dead calf, raided garbage and ate Russian olives, Lehman said. He was munching corn and apples, too.
The bear was in the early stages of hyperphagia, seeking and consuming as many calories as possible in preparation for hibernation. Bears’ focal point is food during hyperphagia, when they are endeavoring to build fat reserves. Around the second week of October they will become sluggish and preoccupied, Ellsbury said.
On Thursday night, the bear was caught in a trap and was euthanized the next morning. The bear had previously caused property damage in the Dubois area and had been relocated in the upper reaches of the Clark’s Fork River drainage last year. He was a human-habituated and human-food-rewarded bear, Ellsbury said.
Ellsbury said he trapped the bear near Wyo. 294.
On Friday morning, Game and Fish employees allowed Lehman to examine the bear. She said she was relieved when she saw the lifeless bear. The grizzly didn’t have the typical dish face, but he did have a hump, and his fur was grizzled. She lifted a paw that was mighty heavy.
“He was beautiful, actually,” Lehman said.
In the last five years, three grizzly bears have been trapped on the east (Powell) side of Heart Mountain. Black bears, grizzly bears and mountain lions pass through the Big Horn Basin. They normally are nocturnal. Often, tracks or scat will be seen before the animal is.
It pays to be vigilant. “You need to expect the unexpected when it comes to wildlife,” Ellsbury said.