Fed bears become seven dead bears

Print Article

Two more food-conditioned bears have been captured and destroyed in the Heron area over the past week in response to what is believed to be illegal bear feeding.

The black bears that were killed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were a 125-poiund male and a 185-pound male. 

That brings to seven the total number of black bears that had to be killed in the residential area near Heron, a community in Sanders County that is located on the Idaho border. 

The other five bears — including a 485-pound male and 300-pound female — were dispatched two weeks ago.

“Based on reports and observations, a local resident allegedly fed bears, creating a public safety hazard,” a Fish, Wildlife and Parks press release states

Warden Captain Lee Anderson noted that Montana law prohibits feeding bears and other wildlife. He said wardens are working with the Sanders County Attorneys Office on potentially filing charges in the case.

The Sanders County Ledger contacted Barbara Sweeney, the woman suspected of feeding the bears, and she openly admitted doing so for the purpose of “teaching them to survive in the wild.”

She said she and her now-deceased husband operated an animal refuge on their property for the last 22 years. She said people would bring her orphan bears and she would teach the bears how to feed and flee from threats in the wild.

“I taught them to run from outfitters and pickups,” she said.

Sweeney said no one told her it was illegal to feed bears or other wild animals.

“People have known I’ve been doing this for years,” she told the Ledger. “If they would have said something, I would have stopped. I can’t get over they killed these animals.”

According to Jim Satterfield of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, “This is a very unfortunate example of how feeding bears directly leads to their death. This is why we tell the public that feeding a bear is the same as signing its death warrant.” 

Print Article

Read More Local News

District plans to purchase land for future elementary

November 16, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Daily Inter Lake Kalispell Public Schools will enter into an agreement to purchase a 12-acre parcel north of Kalispell as a future elementary school site. The property is west of Whitefish Stage Road in the vicinity...


Read More

Hunter gets reduced fines for accidentally killing 3 sheep

November 16, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Daily Inter Lake Last fall, Jeff Fleming was facing nearly $33,000 in fines and a 30-month loss of hunting privileges — the penalties for accidentally shooting two bighorn sheep in the Knowles Creek area near Plains....


Read More

Lawmakers strike late-night budget deal

November 16, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Daily Inter Lake The Montana Legislature’s 33rd special session ended before dawn Thursday, with lawmakers closing the state’s $230 million budget gap with several interlocking bills – but no new taxes. “It’s...a m...


Read More

Legislature reaches budget fix without raising taxes


November 16, 2017 at 7:30 am | HELENA — Montana lawmakers have agreed to a plan to address the state’s projected $227 million budget deficit without raising taxes in a complicated mix of interconnected bills that make it nearly im...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy