George H. Blackford, Ph.D.

 Economist at Large

 Email: george(at)


It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble.

Itís what you know for sure that just ain't so.
Attributed to Mark Twain (among others)


Economic Papers
Political Essays




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On Feeding the Bears

George H. Blackford (06/12/2015)

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Article from the Yellowstone Park Foundation:


A Brief History of Bear Management in Yellowstone



Early visitors to Yellowstone National Park developed an interest in the areaís wildlifeóespecially the bears. Garbage dumps that attracted bears quickly became a primary tourist attraction. At the height of the bear-feeding era, hundreds of people watched nightly as bears fed on garbage.  By 1900, Yellowstone National Park became well known as the place to see and interact with bears.


Over the following decades, the number of bear/human conflicts increased, along with subsequent nuisance bear-control actions. It became apparent that the Parkís bear management policies were not conducive to conservation or safety, but they didnít change significantly until 1970.


The following is a brief timeline of bear management in Yellowstone National Park.


Feeding the Bears


1889: Bears gathered at night to feed on garbage behind Park hotels.


1902: Official prohibition against hand-feeding bears.


1910: First incidents of bears seeking human food along Park roads.


1916: First confirmed bear-caused human fatality.


Early Management


1931: Park began keeping detailed records of bear-inflicted human injuries, property damage, and bear control actions.


1931-1969: average of 48 bear-inflicted human injuries and more than 100 incidents of property damage occurred annually in Yellowstone.


Changes in Management


1970: Yellowstone implemented a new bear management program to restore bears to subsistence on natural foods and to reduce property damage and human injuries.  The new program involved strictly enforced regulations prohibiting the feeding of bears and requiring proper storage of human food and garbage. In addition, all garbage cans in the Park were converted to a bear-proof design, and garbage dumps were closed within and adjacent to the Park.


Since these changes were implemented, there has been a significant reduction in bear-human conflicts: 

*  Decrease in human injuries from 45 injuries per year in the 1960s to 1 injury per year in the 2000s.


*  Decrease in property damage claims from 219 per year in the 1960s to an average of 14 per year in the 2000s.


*  Decrease in the number of bears that must be killed or removed from the Park from 33 black bears and 4 grizzlies per year in the 1960s to an average of 0.4 black bear and 0.1 grizzly bear per year in the 2000s.


*  Decrease in bear relocations away from the front country from more than 100 black bears and 50 grizzlies per year in the 1960s to an average of 0.3 black bear and 0.3 grizzly bear per year in the 2000s.


Conservative verses Liberal Logic


There are obviously lessons to be learned from the above analysis from the Yellowstone Park Foundation that liberals are too stupid to figure out on their own.
The increase in the number of poor-people/human conflicts along with subsequent nuisance poor-people control actions over the years have made it clear that the liberal poor-people management policy of feeding the poor is not conducive to conservation or safety.
Since humansí feeding poor people has made poor people dependent on handouts of human food, if we are to solve our poor-people problem and reduce property damage and injuries that poor people cause to humans we must implement a new poor-people management program to restore poor people to subsistence on natural foods.

This will require strictly enforced laws prohibiting the feeding of poor people, especially the feeding of poor children since the younger a poor person becomes dependent on human food the harder it is to learn how to subsist on natural foods. It will also require the proper storage of all human food within and adjacent to poor neighborhoods. All garbage cans within and adjacent to poor neighborhoods must be made poor-people proof, and all garbage dumps within and adjacent to poor neighborhoods must be closed as well.

This worked in Yellowstone to control the bears, and it can work in the rest of the country to control poor people too. All that is needed to make this happen is the will do so along with the rejection of liberal logic and the acceptance of conservative logic.

See: It Makes Sense If You Donít Think About It.


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