Bear aware: Tips for people who live in bear country

Black bears emerging from dens eat green grass to kick-start digestion. (File Associated Press)
Black bears emerging from dens eat green grass to kick-start digestion. (File Associated Press)

WILDLIFE — This period when bears are emerging from dens and snow still prevents them from dispersing to the high country is prime time for conflicts with humans who live in rural areas.

Bottom line: the bears are hungry. Eliminate food sources that might lure them into trouble, and most conflicts can be avoided.

Following are tips for people who live in bear country from the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project:

At your home or ranch

  • Do not leave human food outside where bears can find it.
  • Store garbage indoors or in bear-resistant garbage cans and do not put garbage out until shortly before the pick-up service arrives.
  • Keep barbecue grills clean and free from grease.  Store them inside, if possible.
  • Make sure that bird feeders, birdseed, suet, and hummingbird mixes are not accessible to a bear.
  • Keep pets inside at night, if possible.
  • Remember: If bears have gotten into your garbage or livestock feed, remove the attractant immediately.  Repeated use of a site by bears is much harder to stop than a single instance.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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