How to better make your home a bear-free zone this fall and winter

Connecticut (WTNH) – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued a warning to residents on Monday to be aware as the bears prepare for winter hibernation.

According to DEEP, bears increase their food intake in the fall to add the fat stores needed for hibernation. They eat up to 20 hours a day and up to 10 times the calories they normally consume – at least 20,000 calories a day. DEEP is warning the public that bears may approach human residences for food. They may be attracted to your bird feeders, outdoor pet food, and / or overflowing trash cans.

However, there are some simple ways to reduce the likelihood of encountering a bear in or near you:

  1. NEVER feed bearsintentionally or not
  2. If you choose to set up bird feeders, do so during the winter months, from December to the end of March, when the bears are in their dens. Although most bears enter dens at some point, some may remain active for part or all of the winter season if food is available. It is important to clean spilled seeds from the ground when feeding during the winter and to remove bird feeders at the first sign of bear activity. If you live in an area with bears, it’s best to avoid bird feeders altogether.
  3. Store garbage in secure, airtight containers inside a garage or storage area. Adding ammonia to cans and bags will reduce odors that attract bears. Periodically clean garbage cans with ammonia to reduce residual odors. The garbage to be collected must be put outside the morning of the collection and not the day before.
  4. Do not store leftover birdseed, tallow meal, or recyclables in a porch or screened porch, as bears can smell these items and tear through the fences to reach them.
  5. Keep the barbecue grates clean. Store grills inside a garage or shed.
  6. Supervise dogs at all times outside. Keep dogs on a short leash when walking and hiking. A stray dog ​​can be seen as a threat to a bear or its young. (Dogs should be kept on a leash when visiting state parks, state forests, and wildlife management areas. Check dog and leash regulations for city properties, land trusts and other public property before you travel to these areas.)
  7. Do not leave animal food outside and do not feed animals outside.
  8. Use electric fencing to protect beehives, farm crops, berry shrubs, chickens, and other livestock.
  9. Avoid placing leftover meat or sugary foods, such as fruits and fruit peels, in compost piles.

Jenny Dickson, director of the DEEP Wildlife division, explained: “Bears rewarded with easy meals spend more time in neighborhoods and near people, which increases the risk to public safety, the likelihood of property damage and the possibility of bears being hit and killed by Vehicles. “

If you encounter a bear in your backyard or while hiking, “make your presence known by shouting or making other loud noises. Never try to get close to a bear. If a bear does not back down, slowly exit the area. If you are in your garden, enter your house, garage or any other structure. If the bear persistently approaches, go on the offensive: shout, wave your arms, and throw sticks or stones. If your dog is hiking with you, it is imperative that you keep the dog on a SHORT leash and DO NOT let him roam free – this is for the safety of your dog, yourself and the bear.

In the rare event that a bear appears aggressive towards people, residents should immediately contact DEEP’s 24-hour dispatch line at 860-424-3333.

DEEP has more information on its “Living with Black Bears” website, https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP-Living-with-Black-Bears. DEEP has also created a video incorporating many of these best practices, available here.

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