As humans continue to move increasingly close to wildlife habitats, it’s not surprising that there are more reports of black bear sightings and encounters. But there’s no need to panic. Black bears are naturally shy and bear attacks are extremely rare. There are many ways to live peacefully with bears. Check out a list of some general ways to reduce interaction with black bears below and click here to view our brochure which details what to do if you encounter a black bear and important facts about their behaviors.
Discourage bears from associating you with food. To keep bears and humans safe and minimize conflicts near your home follow these measures:
· Never intentionally feed bears.
· Don’t leave unsecured food attractants around your home, including pet food, coolers and garbage. Use bear resistant garbage cans or work with your municipality to set up community refuge collection sites that are bear resistant.
· Bring in bird feeders from March through November.
· Keep pets in fenced areas and don’t let them roam without supervision.
· Clean outdoor grills and barbecues, making sure they are free of grease and food remnants. Keep them covered.
· Pick up fruit that has fallen to the ground from trees. Do not use fertilizer made of blood or fish for gardens.
· Secure outdoor compost heaps with electric fencing and locate them far from a house. Keep compost heaps clean and free of odors by using lime and turning them often. Compost only yard waste outdoors if you have a continued bear problem or consider an indoor composter.
· Keep bee hives secure with metal strapping and on an overhang. Don’t set up beehives in areas with berries or waterways and wait until later spring when more natural food items are available to bears. Install electric fencing around the hives.
· When hiking, use bear bells, carry bear spray and keep dogs on leashes to ward off encounters.
There are a number of bear repellents you can use to scare away bears if they are on your property. These include:
· Wildlife deterrent horns or noisemakers such as cans filled with coins or pots and pans.
· Sprinklers and scare crow machines that squirt water or pepper spray.
· Electric unwelcome mats can be used near windows and doors to keep bears away.
· Bear Be Gone cans that squirt pepper spray.