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Black bear killed after chase through Billings neighborhood

Police first saw the bear along South 27th Street near the Post Office
Posted: 3:47 PM, Sep 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-05 17:54:58-04
Black bear (MTN News file photo)

GREAT FALLS — Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks killed a black bear in downtown Billings early Thursday after police chased it for a mile through the south side of town.

Police first saw the bear along South 27th Street near the Post Office. They followed it through residential areas until it climbed into a tree near 2nd Avenue South and South 35th Street at about 5 a.m.

FWP then determined it best to remove the bear before the situation escalated with daylight hours.

FWP said in a press release that the bear likely is one of several black bears that have become habituated to garbage and other food sources and lost their wariness of people in neighborhoods along Blue Creek and south of Billings throughout the summer.

Trapping, tranquilizing or moving the bear were not considered viable options under the circumstances, FWP said, noting that experience and history have shown that troublesome bears that are moved elsewhere go right back to their home ranges and the same food sources that continue to be available to them.

To remain safe and prevent bears from getting in trouble, FWP is asking residents to remove any opportunity for bears to seek or find food in or around their homes, businesses and vehicles.

Residents should store all garbage, barbecue grills, pet food, horse pellets and livestock feed in a locked building. They should remove all bird feeders and clean up apples, berries and other potential food sources from their yard. Bear-proofing also includes thoroughly cleaning decks and patios around barbecue areas to remove odors from previous cooking.

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