Bears are going to be in and around your neighborhood and you and all your neighbors should expect to see one from time to time. What we want to avoid is habituating the bears that come through the neighborhood to humans and dwellings. Bears have a natural fear of people and will avoid us and we don’t want to alter that fear by teaching bears that people are a source of food. Bears that become habituated to people can cause extensive property damage and can even enter houses in search of food. These bears cannot be relocated as there is no where to take them where they will not be in proximity to people and we will not take a bear we feel to be dangerous from one neighborhood and put it next to another. If it gets the the point where we feel a bear is a threat to human safety the bear will be killed. Of course this outcome is completely avoidable. Some basic things everyone in your neighborhood must do:
* Secure garbage. Garbage is an unhealthy, unnatural food source for bears that can teach them that they should forage for food near houses. Garbage should be kept in a bear resistant garbage container, a closed garage, or other secure structure.
* Take down bird feeders. Birdseed is a rich calorie source and bears will return again and again to a bird feeder learning once again that houses can provide food. Same thing for hummingbird feeders (there are flowers that will attract hummingbirds but not bears that can be planted in hanging planters as an alternative).
* Clean up, remove, or secure other food/scent attractants including barbecue grills, outside compost, and any livestock including chickens.
* Close and lock all ground level doors and windows of your house when you are away and at night. A bear will take advantage of a quiet house and an open window to access a kitchen and food. Also, keep you garage door closed. Once a bear learns that you store your garbage in a garage or knows there is a fridge in the garage it is more likely to come back and try to get in the garage more forcefully.
* Keep your car clean. Bears learn how to open car doors and sometimes smash out windows to get at food in cars. Some people tell me they leave their doors unlocked so that the bear will open the door, investigate, and leave without breaking a window. In my experience it is more likely that a bear will open a car door, enter the car, and then get trapped inside when the door closes behind them then actually break a window of a locked car. When the bear gets stuck it destroys the interior, totaling the car. That is why I recommend keeping as clean a car as possible (no air fresheners) and locking your car doors.
If you or your neighbors are experiencing issues please let me know. We can brainstorm solutions and I have some tools we can use to try to negatively condition bears that are becoming a bit too persistent like our pepper spray garbage barrel.
More information can be found at: