F&G staff and volunteers pick apples in Ashton to avoid attracting bears to backyards


Idaho Fish and Game recently partnered with a group of hardworking volunteers to pick and pick apples from cooperating landowners around the town of Ashton. This is the third year in a row that an effort has been made to eliminate fallen apples as an attractant for bears and hopefully prevent them from wandering into backyards and neighborhoods in search of the tasty treat. . Fish and Game regularly responds to bears roaming the neighborhoods this time of year as they search for fruit trees and other easy meals to provide them with quick calories as they prepare for winter.

Grizzly bear looking for apples

“Apples can be quite irresistible to a hungry bear,” says wildlife biologist Jeremy Nicholson. “Once they find a food source, they become quite protective of it, which unfortunately puts the safety of both humans and bears at risk.” Bears that become accustomed to spending time near humans and eating human food are usually removed from the population due to the danger they pose to the public.

apple picking

Fish and Game focused its apple picking efforts in areas around Ashton where bears frequently came to town to eat apples in the yards. “It really seems to work and it’s worth it,” says Nicholson. “We responded to fewer conflict situations involving bears in areas where the apple cleanup took place.”

apple truck

Do your part to keep humans and bears safe by following these simple tips and eliminating attractants around your home.

  • Keep garbage in bear proof containers or in a closed building.
  • Empty and remove bird feeders during the summer months when songbirds can feed on food provided by nature.
  • Clean up fallen fruit in your garden. Rotten fruit will attract bears as well as raccoons and skunks.
  • Feed pets indoors or during the day; do not leave food or pet food scraps outside your home or camp.
  • Store grain from horses and cattle in closed barns.
  • Keep barbecue grills stored in closed buildings.

apple truck

“I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped us and the owners who allowed us to pick apples from their property,” says Nicholson. Four truckloads of apples were picked up during the cleanup. Usable apples were donated to senior centers in Ashton and St. Anthony and the rest were donated to animals at the Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.

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