This trio of bears stopped briefly by Diane and Barry Fowler’s house last year. They were attracted to the smell of dinner, but were quickly discouraged by the Fowlers and went on their way.
By M. LISA MONROE
There have been reports throughout town about the bears being out and on the move. Now is the time to start taking precautions to keep bear and human interactions at the minimum.
Ed Tondryk spotted a momma bear and two cubs near Bald Mountain Colony early morning on April 19, and the DEC has been warning business owners that hibernation is over.
It is important to go into this season being bear aware so as to avoid what happened to the bears last year, starting with tourists treeing a family of bears on Main Street on July 21. The mother bear was later hit by a car after she darted into traffic while trying to get away from a car that had stopped to look at her. The three babies were left orphaned. During September a family of bears broke into a house in town and were euthanized. All together five bears were hit on Route 28 last summer. Another bear who broke into one of the camping cabins at the Old Forge Camping resort was euthanized. Nine bears died last summer because people refuse to alter their behavior.
There are no records of human fatalities from black bears in the Adirondacks.
Steve Heerkens, a big game biologist with the DEC, said last year that humans must try to do what’s best for the bears.
“This is a problem that we have, to some extent, created,” said Heerkens. “All summer it’s been fun to watch these bears. They’ve become acclimated to town. So what happens? The sow gets hit by a car.”
So as we head into another bear season we must continue to be bear aware: don’t leave food or things that smell in your car; if you see a bear just keep moving and if others have stopped urge them to move along also; garbage should go out just before pick up; no bird feeding; etc.
Visitors must be reminded of proper bear etiquette, early and often. Once bears have been trained to get food from people they are dead bears walking.
Here are the DEC’s tips to keep human/bear interactions to a minimum.
–Garbage is attractive to bears and should be kept in sealed garbage cans inside a sturdy building such as a garage or shed. Anything with an odor can attract a bear. Note: Burning garbage is illegal and may increase its attractiveness to bears.
–If you frequently find bears foraging in garbage cans, despite proper storage, consider using a bear-resistant trash container.
–Mask garbage odors with ammonia-soaked rags.
–If your garbage is picked up curbside, take out the trash just before the scheduled pickup. Do not put garbage at the curb the night before.
–Do not place meat or bones in compost piles.
–Do not place food outside to attract wildlife. Any food used to attract birds, squirrels, or other wildlife will also attract bears.
–Do not feed pets outside. Leftover food or even an empty dish can attract a bear.
–Do not operate refrigerators or freezers outside or on porches. Bears can smell what is inside.
–Remove the grease can from grills after every use. Turn the grill on “High” for several minutes after cooking to burn residual odors off the grill.
–Electric Fencing is an effective tool for keeping bears out of apiaries, chicken coops, compost, and gardens.