Over the last week I’ve talked to friends who are dealing with some surprise and unwelcome visitors. For last month or so black bears have been waking up after their long winter slumber, and are pretty hungry. So, a quick and easy meal or “snack” is pretty high on their priority list. The problem is they can a bit of an aggravation to residents and tourists here in the lakes area. Here are a few tips on how to deal with nuisance bears:
Protecting your home or cabin:
- Reduce garbage odors. Rinse food cans and wrappers before disposal.
- Compost vegetable scraps.
- Keep meat scraps in your freezer until garbage pickup day.
- Wash garbage cans regularly and use lime to cut odors.
- Keep garbage cans in a bear-proof container or in a garage until the morning of pickup.
- Remove bird feeders in the spring. If you persist in feeding birds during the summer, remove seed, suet, and hummingbird feeders at night.
- Keep pet food inside.
- Keep barbecue grills and picnic tables clean.
- Use an energized fence* to keep bears out of beehives, sweet corn, fruit trees and berry patches. Barking dogs, bright lights and noisemakers will sometimes discourage bears from coming into an area.
If a bear comes into your yard:
- Don’t panic! Don’t shoot! Don’t approach it!
- Learn to tolerate bears. Many bears are killed or injured when not causing problems.
- Most bears fear people and will leave when they see you. If a bear woofs, snaps its jaws, slaps the ground or brush, or bluff charges, you are too close!
- Back away slowly.
- Go inside and wait for the bear to leave.
If it refuses to leave:
- Make loud noises or throw something to scare it away.
- Always allow the bear an escape route.
Bears can also be troublesome to campers here’s a few tips on that front:
- Move to another campsite if fresh bear sign is present.
- Never have food in your tent.
- Use canned and dried foods to minimize food odors.
- Store foods out of a bear’s reach.
- Use air-tight or bear-proof containers.
- Burn waste paper in your campfire.
- Do not burn or bury food scraps!
- Remove all garbage and fish remains from camp every evening.
- Don’t feed it. Scare it away.
- Make loud noises, bang pans, yell or use air horns.
- Don’t be gentle! Chase it away.
- Throw rocks or pieces of firewood.