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To prevent bear problems, remove all food sources


Hungry bears are often attracted to bird feeders. The Department of Natural Resources advises those who want to prevent bear problems to remove bird feeders and other attractants.

Hungry bears are often attracted to bird feeders. The Department of Natural Resources advises those who want to prevent bear problems to remove bird feeders and other attractants.

It might be hard to believe black bears see a bird feeder as food source, but they do. Bird feeders, garbage cans and barbeque grills are all bear attractants that humans can control.
Food, mating, and young bears establishing their own territories are all reasons bears are more noticeable right now. Bears typically mate in June or July, and the mother will kick out her yearlings in order to do so.
“Bears are looking for food and new territory,” said DNR bear and furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “While we might not think of bird feeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may.
“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to take in their bird feeders and store other attractants—like grills, trash cans and pet food—in a garage or storage shed.”
Bird seed is especially attractive to bears because of its high fat content and ease of access. Once bird feeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed. Bears are capable of remembering reliable food sources from year to year.
Bears that are rewarded with food each time they visit a yard can become habituated to man-made food sources. This can create an unsafe situation for the bear and become a nuisance for landowners if a bear continuously visits their yard during the day and repeatedly destroys private property in search of food.
Those who have taken appropriate actions to remove food sources for a period of two to three weeks, but are not seeing results, should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.
For more information about bears go to www.michigan.gov/bear.

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Prevent nuisance bear problems


Put away birdfeeders, trash cans

 

Each spring as hibernating bears leave their winter dens and resume daily activity, wildlife officials in northern Michigan receive many calls about bears hanging around and even destroying man-made food sources such as birdfeeders, trash cans and grills. This year has been no exception, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

A bear was also recently seen in downtown Greenville, Lowell, and near the Ford Airport in Grand Rapids.

“At this time of year, bears are on the move and are looking for food,” said DNR bear specialist Adam Bump. “They are hungry after spending months hibernating, and will often resort to finding food in unnatural places, such as residential backyards.”

Bird seed is especially attractive to bears because it is a high-energy food and relatively easy to find. Once birdfeeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed.

“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears this time of year involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to temporarily take in their birdfeeders and store other attractants, like grills, trash cans and pet food, in a garage or storage shed,” Bump said. “Once the woods green up, bears tend to move on to find more natural sources of food, as long as they haven’t become habituated to the bird seed or garbage cans.”

Bears can become habituated to man-made food sources, which can create an unsafe situation for the bear, and a nuisance situation for landowners if they have a bear continuously visiting their yard during the day and repeatedly destroying private property in search of food.

DNR Wildlife Division staff members are unable to respond directly to each nuisance bear complaint, and instead ask that landowners do their part to help reduce potential food sources in their yards first before calling for further assistance. The trapping of nuisance bears is only authorized by DNR wildlife officials in cases of significant property damage or threats to human safety.

Anyone experiencing problems with nuisance bears (who has taken the appropriate action to remove food sources for a period of two to three weeks but has not seen results) should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

 

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