Outdoors

Homeowners need to be 'bear aware'

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 — The region's black bears are out of their winter dens and on the move, looking for food sources that might help them regain weight lost during hibernation.

Homeowners can avoid problem encounters with bears by being aware.

High calorie human foods are a major attractant, particularly if they are easy to obtain, such as out of a bird feeder or garbage can.

Idaho Fish and Game officials urge homeowners who live rural and suburban settings to take small precaution that can make a big difference in safety and to the welfare of the bears.  Whether it's a black bear or a grizzly, a bear lured into a yard or campground by food or garbage is likely to be killed for public safety.

“All bears are opportunists; their whole life revolves around food,”  Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. “They remember every single location where they receive a food reward, and if they get one from your residence, or your neighbor’s residence, they will be back for more.”

The result is always the same – a dead bear.

Read on for easy solutions for homeowners living near prime bear country.

“Securing food, garbage and anything else that a bear might consider food is the answer,” Oneale said. “If a bear does not receive a food reward, it will move on.”

Homeowners can help keep bears wild and avoid costly property damage by taking these simple precautions:

  • Bears like pet food as much as dogs or cats do. Keep pet food secured and not in a bowl outdoors.
  • Keep garbage in a secure location and place it at the curb only on the morning of pick up.
  • If you encounter a persistent or aggressive bear, contact the local Fish and Game office with the details.



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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.

By Rich Landers richl@spokesman.com (509) 459-5508


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