Article contributed by Judy Carr
The black bear is a long-time resident of our area, and as the human population and their housing requirements grow, so does the need for people and the bears to coexist safely. Bears are most active from mid-March through November, so it makes sense that in the last 6 weeks, our bear sightings have increased. Most of those sightings have been at night via our animal cams; however, you can encounter them at any time of the day or night. Their constant search for food sources is what draws them to your home. Coming to a beautifully wooded area with fresh water sources and people already feeding the birds and the deer is like us going to an upscale food court!
Black bears live to eat, consuming up to 25,000 calories a day! They have a keen sense of smell and are driven to investigate. Bears learn quickly and will repeat behaviors that reward them with food. Thus, if they found a food source at your house last year, they’ll check it out again this year. Bears in pursuit of an easy meal can damage property or, in rare cases, injure people, although neither is the bear’s first choice. They would rather come and go at their own convenience, eat, and leave. However, if you see a bear, give him space and remain calm. Most often, the bear is just
passing through, and if he does not find a food source, he will go on his merry way.
Paying attention to common household activities will reduce encounters and contribute to a Bear Smart community.
NEVER FEED OR APPROACH BEARS: Feeding bears intentionally or unintentionally trains them to approach homes and people for more food. Bears will defend themselves if a person gets to close.
SECURE FOOD, GARBAGE, and RECYCLING: Food and food orders attract bears, so don’t reward them with an easy meal.
REMOVE BIRD FEEDERS WHEN BEARS ARE ACTIVE: Bird seed and other grains have high-calorie content making them very attractive to bears.
NEVER LEAVE PET FOOD OUTSIDE: yum!!
CLEAN AND STORE GRILLS: After you use an outdoor grill or smoker, clean it thoroughly and store it securely from the bears and other wild animals.
ALERT YOUR NEIGHBORS: Bears have adapted to living with people—have you adapted to living with them?