People love to see the black bear in its natural surroundings. But when bears venture into human territory, problems can occur. Often, bears pay the price.
People often encourage bears to come out of the forest by providing food without realizing it. Once bears become used to these food sources and come into frequent human contact, people sometimes call them "nuisance bears." But, they are just being bears! It nearly impossible to relocate a nuisance bear – they frequently have to be put down.
Some of the most common sources of food that attract bears are: pet food, bird feeders, barbecue grills, garbage, household trash containers, open dumpsters, and campsites with accessible food and food wastes.
Purposely feeding a bear is not just bad for the bear, it’s also illegal.
Vermont law also states that residents must take reasonable measures to protect their property from bears before lethal force can be taken. Some of these measures include:
• Keep chickens and honeybees secure within an electric fence or other bear-proof enclosure.
• Never feed bears, deliberately or accidentally.
• Feed your pets indoors.
• Do not feed birds April 1 through November 30. Bringing feeders in at night doesn’t work, because of seed that is spilled on the ground.
• Store trash in a secure place. Trash cans alone are not enough!
You can learn more about living with Vermont’s black bears on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). Fish & Wildlife also asks that you use a form on their website to report any incidents you may have with Vermont bears.
Media Contacts: Forrest Hammond, 802-885-8832; Scott Darling, 802-786-3862