CONCORD — The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department urges homeowners, campers, and those with dumpsters and chicken coops to continue to be bear-vigilant during August and September.
Tourists and vacationers are recreating throughout the Granite State and bears are taking notice. “When campgrounds are full, restaurant dumpsters are overflowing, and human-related food attractants remain abundant bears will take advantage,” said Andrew Timmins, Bear Biologist with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
New Hampshire’s campgrounds are very busy in August, particularly in the White Mountains, which can lead to more conflicts. When camping, be sure that all foods are properly stored so that bears cannot gain access. Foods left on picnic tables and in coolers at campsites are easy targets for bears.
The primary causes of most bear-human conflicts are birdfeeders, garbage, barbeque grills, inadequately secured chickens, and pet foods. Residents should secure dumpsters and garbage cans, bring trash out to the curb the morning of pick up, and secure grills, pet food, and animal feeding stations when not in use. Protect poultry, bees, and other livestock with electric fencing.
Preventing conflicts between bears and humans is far more successful when people are preemptive, and it is easier to avoid a conflict rather than resolve one. “Bears have an extremely acute sense of smell and long memories,” said Timmins, “so we really need the cooperation of residents and visitors this summer to prevent bears from returning to locations where they previously found food because over time bears will lose some of their natural aversion to humans. Bears are much better off in the wild, and there is an abundance of natural foods available for them this year.”
Help build respectful relationships with bears:
• Secure all garbage in airtight containers inside a garage or adequate storage area, and put garbage out on the morning of pickup, not the night before. If using a dumpster, inform your dumpster company that you need a dumpster with metal locking tops and doors that are inaccessible to bears and other wildlife.
• Never put meat or other food scraps in your compost pile.
• Don’t leave pet food dishes outside overnight.
• Clean and store outdoor grills after each use.
• Finally, never deliberately feed bears. You will be encouraging these animals to rely on human-related foods which will deteriorate their wild behavior and reduce their survival.
For more information on reducing bear-human encounters, visit www.wildnh.com/wildlife/somethings-bruin.html.
If you have questions regarding bear-related issues, you can get advice by calling a toll-free number coordinated jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department: 1-888-749-2327 (1-888-SHY-BEAR).