The Teton County Board of County Commissioners approved changes to the Land Development Regulations focused on wild animal feeding and garbage storage in April 2022 that went into effect July 1st. With fall right around the corner with expected increases in bear activity, Teton County wants to remind residents that these regulations are now in effect and how to come into compliance before enforcement actions start November 1st. These new regulations are intended to reduce conflicts with wildlife in residential areas, such as unnatural behavior and threatening situations with humans, domestic animal safety, wildlife vehicle collisions, disease transmission, disruption of migration and other concerns that harm wildlife or can result in animals being relocated or destroyed.
Under the new regulations, all trash containers and dumpsters anywhere in Teton County (outside of the Town of Jackson) are required to be approved as IGBC Bear-Resistant. The Town of Jackson is planning to implement similar regulations within a Bear Conflict Zone at the Town’s perimeter starting April 1, 2023. A list of all IGBC certified Bear-Resistant containers is HERE. If trash is self-hauled, it must be stored in a bear-resistant building or enclosure. Teton County recommends contacting your hauling service and requesting a certified bear-resistant trash container or dumpster. Another option for residents is JH Bear Solutions, which is providing resources for residents to secure attractants and sign-up for bear-resistant garbage cans through this link.
In addition to garbage storage, there are updated regulations prohibiting the feeding of all wildlife and requiring bird feeders to be unavailable to wildlife at all times of year. All attractants, including grease from food service, chicken coops and feed, apiaries, compost, livestock, and fish food must be made unavailable to wildlife. If these attractants cannot be stored in a bear-resistant building, an effective tool for the homeowner is electric fencing. A resource for building electric fencing for bears is HERE. The Town of Jackson is planning to enforce similar restrictions on wildlife feeding starting April 1, 2023
Lastly, the new regulations include prohibitions on planting ornamental fruit bearing trees and shrubs, such as crabapples. Existing ornamental, non-native fruit trees shall be managed by harvesting ripe and fallen fruit or fencing to prevent wildlife access. A local company, Farmstead Cider, is producing cider from local crab apples, and will assist community members by harvesting their crabapples. For more information on how to drop off your apples or have them harvested, click HERE.
Teton County wants to remind residents that most violations are handled administratively through a notice and are complaint driven. We encourage neighbors to report any violations they see that may attract bears and other wildlife into conflicts before it occurs by calling 307-733-3959. The adage that a fed bear is a dead bear is real, and once bears find unnatural attractants the options for managing them become limited and often results in lethal removal. The goal of these new regulations is to improve our stewardship of the ecosystem. Education will be an important tool for this to be successful. Residents are encouraged to learn more about living with bears at BearWise JH.
We are asking the community to help us keep bears wild and people safe. Please report wildlife conflicts to Wyoming Game and Fish at 307-733-2321.
To view the new regulations, click HERE.