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FWP offers advice on reducing human/bear conflicts

Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 17:42:06-04

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is reminding people to keep neighborhood bear conflicts to a minimum this fall by removing or securing backyard bear attractants such as fruit, birdseed, pet food, compost piles and garbage.

FWP says that even in areas where natural food sources are plentiful, bears can be tempted by attractants in our yards and neighborhoods, especially in the fall as they stock up and prepare to den. This can lead to safety concerns and prompt bear removals if they become hooked on these backyard foods instead of natural sources.

Keeping neighborhoods free of attractants is the key way to keep people and bears safe. Be sure to keep garbage indoors until the day of collection; consider using electric fencing around chickens, garden areas, and compost piles; and move other attractants such as pet food and fruit indoors or into a secure building.

Domestic fruit is one of the primary attractants in the region in the fall. Pick fruit as it becomes ripe and remove any fruit on the ground. Store all fruit inside or in a secure garage or shed or consider electric fencing.

FWP has more information on being “bear aware” on its website, including these tips:

  • Do not put out salt licks, grain, or deer blocks to attract wild animals as these create areas of concentrated animal scent that will then draw in bears and mountain lions.
  • Use native plant landscaping whenever possible. Be aware that a watered lawn with lush grass, clover, and dandelions is an attractive feeding site for bears.
  • Close all windows when not at home or when cooking.
  • Talk to your children about bears and how to avoid them.
  • Have a plan in case a bear comes inside your home and keep bear pepper spray handy. Give a bear that is in your home an escape route by propping all doors open with something heavy that will act as a doorstop.
  • Never approach a bear in your yard, always give bears an escape route and never crowd or harass a bear.