BILLINGS, Mont. - Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks says that from now until the winter months, bears are in their hyperphagia stage where they are the most active.  In some cases, that means sniffing around in people's yards.

Information and Education Manager Bob Gibson says, "The animals that are coming into people's yards are there for a reason, and it's primarily because that's where breakfast is; that's where the buffet is; they got something there that they're eating."

Gibson recommends cleaning up barbecue pits, dog food, bird feeders, and even under apple trees.  He also reminds us that purposely feeding wildlife is against the law.  "Bears are already starting to think about fattening up for the winter for their hibernation and they're eating everything and anything in sight."

Montana native Shirley Skinner took photos of a 2-year-old black bear that she found in her backyard.

"We had to make him leave because we knew we couldn't get him acclimated to people, and it was kinda sad it made me feel bad, but they used rubber bullets on him and ran him off," says Skinner.

Skinner has been around wildlife her whole life and knew what steps to take to give this young bear a fighting chance to live [in the wild].

"Call your local law enforcement or fish and game people. They'll either take them out, capture them, relocate them, or use rubber bullets on them to scare them off because they don't want you to get them used to coming in and eating. They're wild animals; they're big; and they can hurt you."

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