Got Bears? Checkout these tips for living with bears
From: VT Fish and Wildlife
With a sense of smell about seven times greater than a bloodhound, black bears are highly attracted to backyard birdseed, garbage, livestock, and beehives. When left unprotected, these attractants provide easy calories and quickly teach bears to get comfortable around humans, losing the natural fear that helps keep them alive. The only way to change a bear’s behavior is to change our own behavior, and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep attractants inaccessible to bears.
Here are a few tips to keep bears wild:
- Remove birdfeeders from April 1 to December 1 and cleanup surrounding seeds – bird seed is nearly always the "gateway drug" for bears who end up hooked on human food.
- Keep trash inside until the morning of garbage pickup. Alternatively, you can replace your garbage or dumpster with a bear-proof receptacle.
- Keep beehives, livestock, and chickens protected by electric fencing, and bait the fence with bacon grease or peanut butter to increase its effectiveness.
- Feed pets indoors and don't leave pet food outside.
- Keep grills and outdoor cooking areas clean.
- Enjoy bears from a distance. Scare off backyard bears by making noise rather than taking a picture. This is crucial to ensure bears stay uncomfortable in the presence of humans. Never approach a bear.
- Report all bear conflicts to Vermont Fish & Wildlife using the following link: https://anrweb.vt.gov/FWD/FW/WildlifeBearReport.aspx
Unfortunately, many habituated bears are killed in car collisions when frequenting backyards, by landowners who fear for their lives, or by wildlife officials responding to reports of extensive damage. Although an individual may enjoy feeding bears, they are actually placing themselves at risk as well as encouraging bears to forage at neighboring homes where they are unwanted and may cause extensive damage. Once a bear is conditioned to obtaining human food, little can be done to fix the problem.
The only way to protect bears is to ensure they have no access to attractants. Sadly, "A fed bear is a dead bear."
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