Human-Bear Conflicts: A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear
People often encourage bears to come out of the forest by providing food without realizing it. When bears become used to these food sources and have frequent contact with humans they become more dependent on human foods and less wary. This is bad news for the bears. This puts bears at increased risk to vehicle collisions and of being killed in defense of property.
The most common sources of food that attract bears are: pet food, bird feeders, barbecue grills, garbage, household trash containers, open dumpsters, and campsites with accessible food and food wastes.
Purposely feeding a bear is not just bad for the bear, it’s also illegal.
If you see a bear in a residential area or you encounter an aggressive bear, please contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
Bear activity typically increases in June, so the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding everyone that now is an especially important time to secure food sources that could attract bears to your neighborhood.
At this time of year, unsecured garbage is the single biggest cause of bear conflicts in our state. Here are three steps for keeping your garbage from attracting bears:
- Dispose of garbage frequently. If you have pick-up services, wait until the morning to put your garbage out.
- 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
- Demand bear proof dumpsters for your community. Your garbage hauler should be able to provide these.
A complete list of bear coexistence tips covering topics like composting, protecting your backyard chickens, and discouraging bears from getting too comfortable in your yard is available on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department website at: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/learn-more/living-with-wildlife/living-with-black-bearsAs always, if you notice bears seeking food in their yards or in public places like campgrounds, report the incident at: https://anrweb.vt.gov/FWD/FW/WildlifeBearReport.aspx