Living with wildlife: A fed bear is a dead bear |

Living with wildlife: A fed bear is a dead bear

If you’ve been out and about in the woods in the last few weeks you may have seen a few bears running around, just as they should be as winter turns to spring and spring into summer.

But as we listen to the newsroom police scanner here at the newspaper, it’s clear that not all our furry neighbors are foraging for grubs and whatnot in the forest. Bears are making their way into neighborhoods around the North Shore and into densely built areas of Truckee looking for easier pickings than ants and berries – like garbage cans and Dumpsters.

It’s the time of year when we have to take a quick inventory around the old homestead and make sure it’s bear proof. Is the trash put away some place that isn’t going to entice a hungry bear (or a scavenging neighborhood dog for that matter)? Are we leaving food out for our pets – or even worse, birds, squirrels or raccoons – thinking that the big, furry guy higher up the food chain won’t bother?

We should also be aware as camping season nears. Follow posted campground prevention measures to avoid nighttime visits from hungry bears.

And while the BEAR League does a fantastic job of rousting a wayward bear that may be too bold for his or her own good, it’s up to all of us to not even tempt that bear in the first place. Because once the animal realizes it can get an easy meal by Dumpster diving, the end is – sadly – often near. That’s because a fed bear is a dead bear, to take a slogan from the BEAR League.

The California Department of Fish and Game’s main management tool for “problem,” or repeat offender, bears isn’t transplanting them to another area. That rarely works for said bear or anyone else who might be already in the new neighborhood.

No, Fish and Game has another tool that it gives bear-bothered homeowners: It’s called a depredation permit, which is a sanitized term for a license to kill.

So before a bear is needlessly killed because one of us can’t seem to keep the trash in a bear-proof enclosure, or because we think the raccoons won’t eat if we don’t keep that little dish of dog kibble out on the deck, think again.

It’s spring, and it’s time to be bear aware.

– From the Truckee Sierra Sun

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