How to Avoid Encounters with Bears

Plus some tips if you do encounter one!

Photo by Seven Months of Snow, via flickr creative commons
Photo by Seven Months of Snow, via flickr creative commons
It’s that time of year when we start seeing more bear pictures show up on our Patch sites.

Two days after we shared this article on black bear sightings increasing in Connecticut, a West Hartford woman woke up on Saturday morning to see a black bear ambling across a neighbor’s yard.

Below are tips and reminders from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to bears.

When at Home

Bears are attracted to the garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees and birdfeeders around houses.

  • Do remove birdfeeders and bird food from late March through November.
  • Do eliminate food attractants by placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed. Add ammonia to trash to make it unpalatable.
  • Do clean and store grills away after use.
  • Don’t intentionally feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to finding food near your home may become "problem" bears.
  • Don’t leave pet food outside overnight.
  • Don’t add meat or sweets to a compost pile.

When Camping

Bears normally leave an area once they’ve sensed a human. If you see a bear, enjoy it from a distance. Aggression by bears towards humans is exceptionally rare.

  • Do make your presence known by making noise and waving your arms if you see a bear while hiking.
  • Do keep dogs on a leash and under control.  A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.
  • Do walk away slowly if you surprise a bear nearby.
  • Don’t cook food near your tent or store food inside your tent.  Instead, keep food in a secure vehicle or use rope to suspend it between two trees.
  • Don’t climb a tree, but wait in a vehicle or building for the bear to leave an area.

When Working with Livestock or Beehives

Bears occasionally attack livestock and damage beehives.

  • Do protect livestock with electric fencing and move livestock into barns at night if possible.
  • Do reinforce beehives to prevent them from being knocked over or protect them with electric fencing.

How to Report a Black Bear Sighting

If you see a black bear, the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection offers a report form you can fill out online.

Click here to fill out the form or bookmark it in case you see a black bear.

If you need immediate assistance concerning a black bear, you may call the DEEP's 24-hour hotline at 860-424-3333.

Barbi B. June 29, 2014 at 05:46 PM
...AND: HIDE your peanut-butter sandwiches!!! ;-)
JYD June 30, 2014 at 09:22 AM
How to avoid bears? A starting point would be not letting your dog outside unleashed at 2:30 am in an area you previously saw a mother bear and 3 cubs.
Brandon June 30, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Please remember to keep all "pickanic" baskets secure at all times!


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