The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says many people continue to have problems with bears looking for food near their homes. Part of the problem could arise from the food scrap ban that recently has gone into effect.
“We have been receiving lots of reports of bears on decks, tearing down bird feeders, wrecking beehives, killing chickens, and getting into trash, compost and garbage containers,” said bear biologist Jaclyn Comeau. “We are offering some guidance on how to compost at home without attracting bears.”
“First though, to deter bears, bird feeders need to be taken down until we have a foot or more of snow in December. Then, make sure anything else that might smell like food is picked up. And keep your trash container secured inside a sturdy building and don’t put it outside until the morning of pickup. Beehives, chicken coops, and compost bins can be protected with electric fencing.”
If you know bears are active in your neighborhood, the best way to avoid attracting them is to take food scraps to one of the drop-off stations. You can locate them by contacting your local solid waste management district or town at 802recycles.com, or ask your trash hauler if they pick up food scraps for composting.
If you are currently having a bear issue, delay starting your new compost pile until the bear issue resolves. Until then, keep food scraps in the freezer or bring them to a collection site.
The public is encouraged to contact their local warden if they are having a bear issue. Composting without attracting wildlife takes careful planning. For more info about living with bears, tips to safely compost or to report bear damage, visit: vtfishandwildlife.com.