Page 4 - APRIL2021
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 Page 4 Community
By Donna rhoDes
April brings many great things to central New Hampshire: cro- cuses peeking through the melt- ing snow, forsythia bushes coming into blossom, budding trees, and longer daylight hours are all things to look forward to this time of year. As nature wakes up in April so do the black bears as they come out from hibernation. N.H. Fish and Game officials remind people that, with rec- ommended dates for feeding the birds ranging from Dec. 1 until April 1, now is the time to take down those winter birdfeeders and take a look at what else may be at a bear’s disposal in your yard.
As the old saying goes, leaving food attractants outside can mean that “a fed bear is a dead bear.”
When black bears come out of their dens each spring they are understandably hungry, seek- ing food wherever they can find it. Typically they will begin with a search for natural sources, like grasses and new succulent plants that are popping through the soil. But, if need be, bears will also sniff out a tasty meal that can be
Time to Prepare for Bears
April 2021
plastic dumpster covers. People should also keep their household trash cans or bags inside until the morning of their scheduled pick-up day. Pouring a bit of ammonia over the trash can also help eliminate any odors that may attract animals, even during the daylight hours.
There is more to bear encoun- ters than those issues though. Livestock and poultry can some- times tempt a hungry bear, as well. State biologists encourage people to not allow chickens and other domestic animals to roam freely during the spring, sum- mer and fall months. Besides bears, pets and farm animals can also fall prey to coyotes, weasel, fishers, hawks and other native predators. They advise that in addition to fences and secured housing, low-volt electric fencing is another great deterrent that causes no harm to the animals. In fact electric fences encourage bears to move on when they ap- proach farm animals, beehives or even summer crops.
It’s important to also note that these human-derived food sources create problems for not only the bears but the commu- nity, too. Complaints pour in to Fish and Game offices each year about the damage bears create while simply enjoying a meal that humans left available. And while New Hampshire has fortunately not seen many recent injuries or deaths as a result of black bear encounters, public safety is always a concern. Officials recommend that people keep their distance, never come between a mother bear and her cubs, and never corner one so it has no path to es- cape. One should also make loud noises or shout “Hey bear, hey bear” repeatedly to frighten away any bears they may meet up with, whether that be in their yards or in the forest or elsewhere.
“All of these are examples of relatively simple, effective com- monsense solutions,” writes N.H. Bear Biologist Andrew Timmons on the N.H. Fish and Game Website.
To learn more about living amicably with bears and other wildlife, visit the N.H. Depart- ment of Fish and Game online at
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easy to find in places like birdfeed- ers, garbage cans and dumpsters, or outdoor bowls of pet food. All of which will provide them with a good dose of protein. And once they find them, bears have a good memory. They can come back time and again as long as a food source remains. This habituation to human food sources can cre- ate serious public safety situations that may ultimately result in an over-friendly bear having to be relocated, or worse, by Fish and Game officers.
Many people enjoy birds
flocking to their feeders each summer and try to outsmart the bears by bringing feeders in at night or hanging them high off the ground. That doesn’t always work though. A hungry bear will search for food both day and night; high and low.
One local resident tried install- ing a cable pulley system between their second floor deck and a pine tree for their bird feeders during the daylight hours. They looked outside one sunny afternoon only to discover a hungry and deter- mined bear trying to make his
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way across that cable. While he wasn’t successful, they realized there isn’t much a bear won’t do for some tasty birdseed at any time of the day.
Besides bird feeders, trash con- tainers have become an increas- ing source of trouble with bears. Back in 2019 biologists at N.H. Fish and Game reported more than 800 bear/human encoun- ters. They cited trash disposal as the major cause.
State wildlife officials recom- mend that trash dumpsters have a steel lid rather than the weaker

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