Bear Aware Tips

Living With Wildlife 3

These guys can be such a pain!! How cool to live with bears and their big bear butts with the stubby tails. And don’t get me started on how cute those ears are!! Not cool at all though when they get into your trash, destroy your orchard, maul your chickens, and so on!!

So let’s talk about this. Well, first of all, the origin of this problem comes down to loss of habitat. If the bears had fish in the creeks, berries in the woods, and roots in the ground, we’d be seeing a lot less of them. Have you seen some of the forests lately?  Not so bountiful these days. Manzanita berries are pretty good, but a bear needs a few bushes worth a day! Have you ever tasted the coffee berries… Blech! My point here is: It’s slim pickins these days for a lazy ole bear. Bears are what we would call, opportunists. Pooh really did have the right of it. It’s all about napping and wandering around, turning over rocks and looking for pots of honey. Their sense of smell is said to be over 100 times and even some reports say over 1000 times better than humans. I’ll leave that research up to you, the point being, is that they can smell lipstick in a purse in a car for miles away!!! I used to work at Sugar Pine Point in Tahoe, it happened! So, you have to imagine, you’re a bear and you smell, say, chicken feed!! This looks like a fabulous opportunity!! They may be just moseying around and come across some garbage or an apple orchard… DELISH!! What’s a bear to do but what a bear does. Go and eat it! I have seen them eat glass, tin foil, socks, whole garbage bags. Not good, not good at all. The list goes on and it’s not very wildlife friendly, that’s for sure. So, it’s up to us to help a bear out by taking the time to be a little more educated and prevention oriented.

There is no relocation program here in California. So if you create a situation where a bear comes to your house repeatedly because you have not done your work of cleaning up your trash or putting up your fencing, you have just created a nuisance bear. A fed bear is a dead bear. It’s that simple. A male black bear’s stomping grounds can range from 10-59 square miles and they generally do NOT share with females or any other young bears.

Now, here’s the safety valve on bears. If the sow (female bear) cannot get enough body fat on her, she WON’T get pregnant. So, if she stays in the forest and there isn’t enough food for her, she won’t conceive a cub. Now, if she is having dinner at your place, eating your kitty food or your trash, she will put on weight that is dependent on the human food for survival of not only herself but her offspring. She will then teach her baby all those fancy tricks of how to get in the garbage, raid the cat food, eat the apples and so on.

What do we do? The following is a list of things that can help you avert and deter this behavior.

Keep a clean yard and your trash and recycling secured. In fact you can make a DIY bear proof trash can

Put your cat food in at night, this goes for all wildlife invaders

Buy some industrial strength ammonia ((25% or more ammonia). Get a rag or some old socks and put them wherever your bear is going

Leave on a light or a motion light and a radio

Invest in good fencing, especially electric fencing or at least a hawk line

Leave your dog out at night

Use your paintball gun and shoot at the bear like a boss

Get an air horn

Get a motion detector scarecrow.

Most of these things can be purchased online. If you need any help, feel free to write to me at: These exclusion methods also work for a myriad of wildlife issues. Stay wild baby!