Bears—and people—are at risk when bears spend time in human-dominated landscapes. And every time a bear finds an easy meal of birdseed, compost, or unsecured garbage, they are learning a dangerous association between people and food. Coexisting with bears starts with you taking the following steps to help keep bears wild:
- Birdfeeders are a big problem! Take down birdfeeders until December. You can attract birds by planting bird friendly native plants instead—check out Audubon’s Native Plants for Birds Program: https://www.audubon.org/native-plants
- Make your garbage inaccessible. Store garbage in a secure structure and a bear proof container. Learn how to make your garbage can bear proof here: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/sites/fishandwildlife/files/documents/Learn%20More/Living%20with%20Wildlife/Living%20with%20Bears/bear-resistant-retrofit-polycart.pdf
- Dispose of garbage frequently. If you have pick-up services, wait until the morning to put your garbage out.
- Demand bear proof dumpsters for your community.
- Follow steps for composting in bear country. Compost needs to be 3 parts brown materials to 1 part kitchen scraps, turned frequently, and kept in a sturdy tumbler or bin: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/node/260
- Use electric fencing to keep chickens and bees safe. Fences need to be 4,000-6,000 volts, tested regularly and baited: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/node/1996
- Clean your grill after every use.
- Make bears feel uncomfortable in your yard. Yell, bang pots and pans, or use other noise devices from inside your home. Never shoot a bear to scare it. Even BBs can seriously injure bears.
- Please report your bear encounters to Vermont Fish & Wildlife. These reports allow us to help you prevent future bear incidents. They also give us information to help all Vermonters better coexist with bears: https://anrweb.vt.gov/FWD/FW/WildlifeBearReport.aspx
Following these steps can save bears' lives, and help protect you, your neighbors, and your property. Please do your part to be a good neighbor and help keep Vermont's bears wild!
If you have questions, contact the Vermont Fish and Wildlife department at 802-828-1000, or firstname.lastname@example.org.