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Montana wildlife officials offer food-disposal guidelines after black bears spotted in Billings area

Posted at 5:43 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 19:43:35-04

Photos of a black bear in the Emerald Hills neighborhood east of Lockwood were taken in resident Cynthia Paugh St. Charles’ back yard on Thursday, one of many spotted this week in the area.

As a precaution, officials for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks asked residents to remove any opportunity for bears to find food.

"Starting from the moment they wake up in the spring until they go back to sleep in the early winter, bears have a singular focus. And that is to eat food and get fat," said Bob Gibson of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "What we want to do is make sure the bear doesn’t find food, and then the bear will go on and eat things that the bears should be eating – the berries and the things in the woods away from people."

The bear’s target was food and scraps from a garbage can left out for scheduled routine pickup.

MacKenzie Disposal Inc., a Billings firm, says it will have bear-proof garbage cans available for residents in the next couple of weeks.