Friday, April 22, 2011

Be bear aware! An article for dealing with black bears.

Let's start with the bear facts...
  • Black bears are usually solitary animals that are most active at dawn and dusk.
  • Black bears have an excellent sense of smell and hearing
  • Black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour. They are strong swimmers and excellent climbers. Both adults and cubs will climb trees for food and to escape disturbances.
  • Black bears eat plants and animals. Their diet mostly consists of skunk cabbage, berries, wild cherries, acorns, and beechnuts. They also eat insects, small mammals, and dead animals.
  • Black bears are opportunistic eaters and will supplement their diet with food or garbage left out by humans.
  • Adult females average 175 pounds. Adult males average 400 pounds.
  • Not all black bears are black. They can be brown, light brown, and even blonde, white, and grey-blue.
  • Even during winter a black bear will leave its den to search for food at times.
  • Den sites include rock cavities, brush piles, open ground nests, and hollow trees. A bear will not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate in their den.
  • Breeding season is from late May to August, peaking in June and July.

Be bear aware!

 If you encounter a bear...
  • Do not feed or approach the bear.
  • Remain calm and make the bear aware of you presence by speaking in a calm, assertive voice.
  • Make sure the bear has an escape route. This insures the bear does not feel threatened and resorts to violence.
  • Make loud noises and look as big as possible to scare the bear away. If you are with another person stand close together and raise your arms above your head.
  • The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping sounds by snapping its jaw, and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away and avoid direct eye contact. DO NOT RUN.
  • If a bear stands on it's hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It usually is not threatening behavior.
  • Black bears will sometimes bluff charge when cornered, threatened, or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, and slowly back away. DO NOT RUN.
  • If the bear will not leave head for nearby shelter. Remember that black bear attacks are extremely rare.
  • If a black bear does attack, fight back.
  • Report any violent, mischievous, abusive, or unusual bear encounters to your local ranger, fish and game warden, or the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

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