Living in Black Bear CountryWhen living in bear-active areas please keep a clean yard - free from any odorous attractants (including food and nonfood items). You may save yourself problems and save a bear's life by following these simple guidelines.
Bear Country Guidelines
- Do not leave garbage cans outside; store in a secure building. Rinse empty food containers and wrappers; place in plastic bags to seal in odors. Bleach trash containers regularly. Avoid odorous materials in garbage until pick-up day. Keep these "smelly" items in the freezer or wrap securely in newspaper with a few mothballs to mask odors and place in plastic before discarding
- To learn about bearproof garbage containers you can purchase for home and business use, go to www.BearProofInc.com.
- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also has information and diagrams of bearproof dumpsters and garbage containers. Click here to visit the page.
- If you have bird feeders (including hummingbird) bring them in at night or hang out of reach of bears (at least 10 feet in the air) on wire suspended between 2 trees. Or even better - bring them in for the duration of the bear active season. Use spill pans to prevent seeds from reaching the ground. For a design of a system to hang feeders out of the reach of bears, click here.
- Use only non-food items in a compost pile or use electric fence to protect it from curious bears. Sprinkling the heap with lime assists the composting process and is an effective odor reducer.
- Store pet food and bowls inside. When feeding pets outdoors remove uneaten portions and clean food bowls as soon as possible.
- Grease and food caught in barbecue grills or burn barrels can attract bears. Clean grills and barrels regularly; dispose of grease as you would garbage. Do not bury, pour out, or discard grease and food particles in yard, as they will eventually be detected. Store grills and burn barrels in secured areas whenever possible.
- Locate gardens, orchards, beehives, compost piles, and pet cages in open areas and away from protective cover like forests, thickets, or natural pathways used by bears. Electric fences are effective deterrents. For more information contact any wildlife agency.
- Pick fruits and vegetables regularly as they ripen or be prepared to share. Remove and properly discard of any produce that has dropped to the ground or wilted fruits still left on branches.
- Bears naturally seek insect larvae (ants, yellow jackets, wasps, etc.) as well as various seeds and nuts stashed by rodents. They will dig and claw as they search for these food sources. To avoid potential property damage, remove insect nests from walls and rodent-proof outbuildings.
- Bears like to sniff, claw, sample or rub certain aromatic woods such as cedar or pine and petroleum products including tarpaper, paint turpentine, kerosene, rubber, and charcoal fluid. Store these items in a secured place.
- Black bears usually do not pursue livestock but caution should be taken during birthing times. Corralling young as well as small animals close to barns or inside protective enclosures is recommended. Properly dispose of livestock carcasses. Use lime to reduce odor.
- Do not startle a bear while biking, walking, or jogging. Use caution during early morning and late evenings when bears are active and may be feeding along roads. Stay alert. Warn bears you are coming. Use bells, clapping, etc. especially on windy days or when traveling downwind, along streams, around blind curves, or near dense vegetation where bears may not hear, smell or see you.
- Experiment with deterrents such as barking dogs, motion lights, various noisemakers and large-animal scat. Consider using them in a problem area. Be creative but always keep the safety of humans and bears in mind.
If he is not rewarded with food, he will move on. If he finds food he will return repeatedly until he is convinced there is no longer the possibility of more food
At no time should anyone intentionally or unintentionally feed bears so they can associate food with people. Doing so may compromise the safety of both humans and bears.
What should I do if a bear approaches me or comes into my yard?
- Don't Panic, Don't shoot, Don't approach
- Pick up small children so they do not run, scream or panic. Restrain dogs.
- If the bear lunges, snaps his jaws; slaps ground or brush with paw, it means he feels threatened and you are too close.
- DO NOT RUN. Back away slowly with arms overhead thus giving the appearance of being bigger.
- Avoid direct eye contact. Speak in a calm and soothing voice.
- If the bear stands up he is not preparing to attack but is trying to get a better look or sniff.
- Leave the area or go inside the house and observe the bear from your window.
- If he is treed, he is probably afraid. Leave him alone. Remove all threats and give him time to feel secure enough to come down and get away, which may not occur until the cover of night.
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