How not to attract bears

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:33

    PIKE COUNTY - With spring blossoming around the count, many residents are seeing signs of new life in the outdoors. Migratory birds are continuing their northward migration and other wildlife are shaking off their winter slumber. Among the wildlife becoming more visible are Pennsylvania’s roughly 15,000 black bears, all of which will be looking for food. Since bears are found throughout a large part of the state, Mark Ternent, Pennsylvania Game Commission black bear biologist, said that bear sightings are common during this time of year. Food for bears is typically scarce in the spring until vegetation begins to green-up, but bears emerging from dens need to find food after fasting for several months. Thus, sightings and, in some cases, conflicts increase as bears look for food, including in backyards. “Now is the time to keep bears from becoming a nuisance later in the summer,” Ternent said. “Bears that wander near residential areas in search of food are less likely to stay or return if they do not find anything rewarding. Conversely, if bears find food in your backyard they quickly learn to associate residential areas with food and begin to spend more time in those areas. Encounters between humans and bears increase, as does property damage, the risk of human injury and vehicle accidents involving bears.” Ternent noted capturing and moving bears that have become habituated to humans is a costly and sometimes ineffective way of addressing the problem, especially when faced with the possibility of merely moving a problem bear from one area to another. That is why wildlife agencies around the country tell people that a “fed bear is a dead bear.” For more information, please visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission - State Wildlife Management Agency website: