living in bear country humans must learn to "think like a bear".
By identifying attractants and casual behaviors that mean nothing
to us but present a windfall to a hungry bear conflicts between humans
and bears can be prevented. Humans and bears must change their behaviors
or bears will have to be destroyed when they get into trouble. Success
depends on the partnership between the public, landowners and management
agencies working together to keep alive a legacy that has vanished
in other areas of the country.
you see a bear in your yard:
- Do not allow
the bear to stay in your yard if it is possible to safely make
it leave. Watching bears conditions them to being near people.
From a safe location bang a wooden spoon on a metal pan. Keep
it up until the bear leaves.
- If a bear
is unafraid and doesn't leave the site, or you know it has obtained
a food reward, contact your local Fish & Wildlife agency.
Success depends on early reporting. Bears are more easily conditioned
to return to wild behaviors if they are not allowed to come into
contact with humans or find food associated with humans repeatedly
for an extended period of time.
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- Do not put out feed for wildlife (corn,
oats, pellets, 3-way, molasses blocks).
- Secure horse and other animal feed in
heavy-duty storage containers and store indoors. Rubber or plastic
containers are not bear-proof.
- Pet food should be stored indoors and
pets fed indoors. If you must feed pets outdoors, feed only as
much as will be eaten as one meal. Avoid leaving pet food dishes
full of food and remove dog bones with meat on them from the backyard
- Bird feeders attract bears. Eliminate
them or hang them at least 10 feet high and 4 feet away from the
nearest tree. Use a rope and pulley system to refill them and
clean up seeds that spill onto the ground. Bird feeders should
be taken down between April 1 and December 1.
- Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging
flower baskets, also attractive to hummingbirds.
- Food from barbecues and picnics should
not be left outdoors unattended, especially overnight. Coolers
are not bear-proof.
- Barbecue grills should be cleaned and
stored after each use in a secure shed or garage away from windows
- Fruit should be picked from trees when
ripe and fallen fruit immediately collected. Do not allow fruit
to rot on the ground.
- Gardens should be harvested immediately
as vegetables, fruits and herbs mature. Locate gardens away from
forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover. Do not apply
- Compost piles should be limited to grass,
leaves and garden clippings and turned regularly. Adding lime
can reduce odors and help decomposition. Don not add food scraps.
Kitchen scraps can be composted indoors in a worm box with minimum
odor and the finished compost can be added later to garden soil.
- Landscaping, especially clover and dandelions
can attract bears. Use native plant landscaping whenever possible
and avoid seeding clover.
- Beehives, honey and bee larvae are especially
attractive to bears. If you keep hives, elevate them on bear-proof
platforms or erect properly designed electric fences.
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(A fed bear is a dead bear):
- Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage
cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic
garbage cans are not bear-proof.
- Reduce odors by storing garbage in tightly
tied, heavy-duty bags. Use garbage cans with tight lids.
- Store especially strong smelling garbage,
such as meat or fish scraps, in a freezer until they can be taken
to a refuse site.
- Keep garbage inside a secure building
away from doors and windows until the morning of pickup.
- Remove garbage regularly.
- Store empty recyclable containers, including
soft drink cans, indoors. Sweet odors attract bears.
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