If a bear is seen around your home, please see the information below on preventing problems before they happen. Listed below are several things around urban and rural homes that can attract bears.
- Bee Hives
- Chicken Coops
- Pet Foods
- Barbeque Grills
- Bird/Wildlife Feeders
- Food Left in Vehicles with Doors Unlocked or Windows Down
In most all cases, these are highly preferred foods in a single location that is easily accessible to bears. In regards to chicken coops, bears will likely be more attracted to the chicken feed than the chickens themselves; however, a bear in your chicken coop is the last thing anyone wants to find.
- Gardens, Beehives, Chicken Coops
Gardens, beehives, and chicken coops can be easily protected with an electric fence around the perimeter. Beekeepers across the state have had great success in protecting their hives with a single strand of poly wire about knee high off the ground. Bears can have very thick coats of fur, which could reduce the effects of the electric fence felt by the bear. Beekeepers we have spoken to have the most success with applying peanut butter, syrup, or anything thick and sweet to the wire to make the bear touch its nose to the wire to ensure the bear realizes the fence is nothing they need to battle with. If your situation requires it, the electric fence can be expanded to as many strands as needed or wire netting may be used. Electric fencing materials do come at some cost but have shown to be the most effective in discouraging property destruction of bears. (Electric Fence Construction)
- Pet Foods Left Outside
Any time bears are in the area, pet foods normally left outside should be brought inside a secure structure. Pet foods outside are a strong attractant to wandering bears looking for a meal. In addition, if your pet stays outside the chances of a dangerous altercation between the bear and your animal increase dramatically. A pet, especially dogs, may stand its ground to defend its food and the bear may or may not back down. If there is no food for the pet to defend, there is also no reason for the bear to instigate a useless fight.
- Barbeque Grills
Most of us have walked out our door and smelled the aroma of the neighbor down the street grilling. Bears have a sense of smell much greater than ours and if we can smell it, you can bet a bear much further away can as well. Cleaning your grill or smoker thoroughly after use, being sure to remove all grease and fat, and securing it inside a structure a bear cannot get into will help ensure your grill will remain intact for the next weekend cookout.
- Bird/Wildlife Feeders
Bears are included in the term “Wildlife,” bird feeders and other wildlife feeders are not selective to the animals they supply with food. Bears are very strong animals and even bird feeders suspended far off the ground may not be out of reach of climbing or pulling the entire support down. As with pet foods and garbage, in an area with rare occurrence of bears, removing the feeder until the bear has moved on may resolve the issue. However, if in areas bears are commonly found the only solution may be to remove the feeder indefinitely.
Anytime bears are in the area, if possible you should never leave food unattended inside your vehicle. If you choose to do so, make sure all of your windows are rolled completely up, preventing as much scent as possible, and in all cases keep all of your vehicle doors locked. Bears are very intelligent animals and have been documented opening unlocked car doors to get to food items left inside.
Unsecured garbage is THE most common attractant to bears in an area. Bags full of household garbage is a bag full of an easy meal to a bear. Securing your garbage can either be the easiest or the most difficult task when dealing with a nuisance bear. If the bear is passing through an area they are not normally found, securing your garbage inside until the bear has moved on may solve the entire issue. However, if you live in an area where bears are more common, additional measures such as bear proof garbage cans or keeping your cans/dumpsters secured with an electric fence may be required. (Certified Bear Proof Products)