Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Black Bears in Spring

Posted by  //  April 21, 2021  //  Articles, Creature Feature

When black bears rouse from hibernation they are very hungry, having lost as much as 30% of their body weight in the den.  Natural forage in early spring is scant and lacks caloric value, leaving bears to eat grass and picked-over winter carrion as they await summer’s bounties.  Meanwhile, they continue to lose weight throughout spring, especially females with nursing cubs.  

Food scarcity can lead bears to human spaces as their extraordinary sense of smell detects promising aromas.  We can reduce problematic encounters with hungry bears by taking preventive precautions.

  • Store garbage indoors if possible and wait until collection day to put it out in containers with tight fitting lids.    
  • Take down bird feeders through spring as they attract bears.  Bird baths and nesting boxes can be left in place.
  • Feed pets indoors whenever possible; store pet food inside.  If pets must be fed outdoors, bring in their bowls each night.  
  • House domestic fowl and small livestock securely; keep outdoor pens clean of spilled feed.  
  • Employ hot wire around beehives and vegetable gardens.  
  • Clean residual food, char and grease from outdoor BBQ grills after each use; empty drip cans.
  • Avoid leaving food in your vehicle.  If you must, store it in the trunk.
  • Neighborhood prevention is essential.
  • Never feed bears.  Remember: “a fed bear is a dead bear.”

Article: Margie Manthey
Photo: Tammy Nash

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