The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says warm spring weather and melting snows will bring bears out of their winter dens in search of food. The department recommends taking down bird feeders on April 1 to avoid attracting them.
Bears are very fond of suet and bird seed, especially black oil sunflower seed. Bringing feeders in at night doesn’t work, because bears will still feed on seed that is spilled on the ground.
Bird feeders are just one of the things that can attract hungry bears. Other sources of food that bears find appealing are pet food, 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.
“We are asking anyone who has a problem with a bear to report the incident in a form that we have on our website,” said Forrest Hammond, Vermont’s bear biologist. “There is a section in the form where you can ask us to call you to provide advice.”
Vermont law states that residents must take reasonable measures to protect their property from bears before lethal force can be taken. Some of these measures include:
Keep chickens and honeybees secure within an electric fence or other bear-proof enclosure.
Never feed bears, deliberately or accidentally.
Feed your pets indoors.
Store trash in a secure place. Trash cans alone are not enough!
Photo courtesy of VTF&W
Vermont Fish & Wildlife recommends taking down bird feeders to avoid attracting black bears that are waking up from hibernation.