An encounter between a camper and aggressive bear at the Trinity Mountains in August resulted in a shot bear and reinforces the need for people to be cautious in bear country.
As hunters and campers venture out this fall, Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking people to be especially careful with their food storage and garbage disposal to avoid unwanted attention from bears. The same cautions apply to home and cabin owners in bear country.
Most bear complaints happen in this time of year because bears are traveling in search of food as they try to fatten up before hibernation.
Some younger bears are also learning to fend for themselves and may not be as fearful of humans as older bears.
“Anyone who leaves food out are actually baiting in hungry bears,” said Barry Cummings, Fish and Game conservation officer based in Deary. “Bears have a tremendous sense of smell, and once they get used to finding an easy food source, they’ll keep coming back and problems will occur.”
Here are F&G’s guidelines for campers:
Æ Keep a clean camp. Pick up garbage and store it in a closed vehicle, bear-resistant container, or in a bag tied high between two trees. Store all food the same way. Coolers are not bear-resistant and never keep food in a tent.
Æ Don’t cook near tents or sleeping areas, and never wear clothes you cook in to bed.
Æ Don’t bury food scraps, pour out cooking grease, or leave anything that might be tasty on the ground or in the fire pit. Also, store barbecue grills or other smelly cooking gear inside your vehicle or a bear-resistant container.
Æ Hang game meat at least 10-feet high and 4 feet from the nearest tree.
Æ If you see a bear, watch it from a distance and leave it alone. Black bears are not usually aggressive, but the danger may increase if a bear loses its fear of humans.
Tips for home and cabin owners in bear country:
Æ Keep garbage in bear-resistant containers or in a closed building.
Æ Empty and remove bird feeders during the summer months when songbirds are able to forage on food provided by nature.
Æ Clean up fruit that has fallen in your yard. Rotting fruit will attract bears as well as raccoons and skunks.
Æ Feed pets inside or during daylight hours; don’t leave pet food or food scraps outside of your home or camp, as it can attract bears, raccoons and skunks.
Æ Store horse and livestock grains inside closed barns.
Æ Keep barbecue grills stored in closed buildings.
8 WORDIES OR LINKTOLYLYLYL
8First reported at IdahoStatesman.com