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Preventing Black Bear “Nuisance” Calls

6-20-13 black bear IMG_8729Vermont Public Radio aired a program on black bears yesterday, and the message it conveyed is one I feel is worth repeating, as it applies to anyone living in bear country. Even though the Black Bear population in New England is growing and there is more overlap of black bear and human habitation, we can co-exist. Without enticement, bears would not be prone to visiting backyards, and thus, “nuisance” calls to Fish & Wildlife would be far fewer (as would the number of bears that are put down). Bears go where there’s food, be it bird feeders, bee hives, compost piles or pet food. After a winter of not eating, black bears are extremely hungry in the spring and early summer, and their memory is excellent. If a feeder or bee hive has been raided one night, it will most likely be revisited the next. The best way to avoid having black bears encroach on one’s back yard is to not have any food available. Birds survive very well at this time of year without any supplemental feeding, so bird feeders can be taken down. Bee hives (and compost piles) can be protected with electric fencing. Cats and dogs should be fed inside, where their food isn’t available to bears. As of July 1st, it will be against the law for anyone in Vermont to feed bears – and that includes unintentional feeding (bird feeders, bee hives, pet food, etc.). Before a “nuisance” bear will be disposed of by Vermont Fish & Wildlife, the homeowner will first have to take measures to discourage bears, such as taking bird feeders down and putting electric fencing around bee hives. Sounds like a good law to me!

11 responses

  1. Melanie Hook

    I had a cub visit at 1045 on 6/18 and Mom came back at 5:45 pm on 6/18. Heard them in the woods behind me at 2 pm. I had taken my feeders down a couple of months ago. However, the 20 gallon metal can was still outside with a few remnants of sunflower seeds in the bottom! They have a sensitive nose!! No harm, no foul but I do have two dogs.. My area is completely fenced in. Cub walked right onto my deck and then right to the can which he took off with his paws.

    Lesson learned and metal container is now in shed…

    I thought I was doing well taking feeders down BUT not enough..

    Please don’t keep feeding the birds during the summer. We are changing their habitat…

    Cub about 130 # and the Mom well over 300 – Great picture opportunity but don’t want it again!!

    June 20, 2013 at 11:59 am

  2. Candis Whitney

    In response to loosing birdfeeders to bears….Last year I researched native bird forage and shelter, and planted the 15 plants that would attract and sustain our birds. How can we get this idea out??

    June 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    • I wish I had thought to mention that! Hopefully you’ve enlightened everyone who reads today’s “comments.”

      June 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

  3. anthony brainerd

    so guess we can’t feed hummingbirds, either, since the bears like those, too…

    June 20, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    • Good point. I guess I draw the line at hummers!

      June 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      • Anthony — we should work on planting tubular, red/orange flowers around our houses!

        June 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      • anthony brainerd

        i do, but its not quite the same!

        June 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      • anthony brainerd

        but how does the new law look at it?

        June 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

  4. Pat Shields

    What a great law! Now to publicize it…

    June 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

  5. Meade Cadot

    And for those with bird houses and/or wanting to keep feeding birds when bears are active (late March to late November!)-these too can be electrified (as well known Bird guide authors Don and Lilian Stokes have done, here in Hancock, NH).

    _____

    From: Naturally Curious with Mary Holland [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2013 7:51 AM To: cadot@harriscenter.org Subject: [New post] Preventing Black Bear “Nuisance” Calls

    Mary Holland posted: “Vermont Public Radio aired a program on black bears yesterday, and the message it conveyed is one I feel is worth repeating, as it applies to anyone living in bear country. Even though the Black Bear population in New England is growing and there is more “

    June 20, 2013 at 7:42 pm

  6. Cordelia Merritt

    Dear Mary, re homeowners’ responsibility: Amen and Amen!! Thank you for publicizing the new law.

    Cordie

    June 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

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