As Teton County rolls into fall with cooler temperatures and the first snow of the season, bears are making their way to lower elevations, looking for food as they prepare to hibernate for winter. County officials want to remind the public that it is our responsibility to mitigate potential conflicts between wildlife and humans. One of the best ways to do that, is by using bear-resistant trash cans.
“It seems like many folks out in the community could do a little better in terms of preventing bear encounters that lead often enough to euthanizing the bear,” said Teton County Commissioner Mark Newcomb.
Refuse and recycling containers in Teton County are required to be bear-resistant in areas designated as a Conflict Area 1, which has been identified by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as areas that overlap with, lay adjacent to, or are in close proximity to known bear-use areas.
Teton County can fine residents living in a conflict area, who fail to use a bear-resistant trash can, up to $750 per day, per offense
Bear-resistant trash containers must meet the minimum structural design standards published by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) or has successfully passed the testing program and protocols recited in the Bear Resistant Products Testing program. This list is updated every year and is based on whether a bear can open or damage the test product within 60 minutes.
Residents can acquire a bear-resistant trash can by contacting their garbage collection agency or can purchase one at hardware stores in the area for around $250.
Those living in a conflict area are also encouraged to take the following extra steps to reduce bear-human encounters: when it is not trash day, store bear-resistant trash containers in a garage or shed; seal food in plastic bags or disposable air-tight containers, or add a lime to the garbage to eliminate odors that can attract bears; clean cans regularly, using disinfectants, bleach or white vinegar.
For more information on bear-resistant trash containers, or to find out if you live in a conflict area, go to http://www.tetonwyo.org/650/Bear-Resistant-Trash-Containers. To view the list of IGBC-approved bear-resistant containers, go to http://igbconline.org/bear-resistant-products/. To report an offense, please call the Code Compliance Officer at 307-733-3959.
Areas within the Town of Jackson, Melody Ranch and Rafter J subdivision are not required to have bear resistant containers.