State agency: What to do and not to do when it comes to bears

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) offers the following “Black Bear Do’s and Don’ts” advice on its website:

Bears near your home

Bears are attracted to the garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees and birdfeeders around houses.

— Do remove birdfeeders and bird food from late March through November.

— Do eliminate food attractants by placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed. Add ammonia to trash to make it unpalatable.

— Do clean and store grills away after use.

— Don’t intentionally feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to finding food near your home may become “problem” bears.

— Don’t leave pet food outside overnight.

— Don’t add meat or sweets to a compost pile.

Bears seen when hiking or camping

Bears normally leave an area once they’ve sensed a human. If you see a bear, enjoy it from a distance. Aggression by bears towards humans is exceptionally rare.

— Do make your presence known by making noise and waving your arms if you see a bear while hiking.

— Do keep dogs on a leash and under control. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.

— Do walk away slowly if you surprise a bear nearby.

— Don’t cook food near your tent or store food inside your tent. Instead, keep food in a secure vehicle or use rope to suspend it between two trees.

— Don’t climb a tree, but wait in a vehicle or building for the bear to leave an area.

Bears, livestock and beehives

Bears occasionally attack livestock and damage beehives.

— Do protect livestock with electric fencing and move livestock into barns at night if possible.

— Do reinforce beehives to prevent them from being knocked over, or protect them with electric fencing.

More about bear interactions

Experience has shown that a single wandering bear can be responsible for numerous sightings reported to the DEEP’s Wildlife Division.

Experience has also shown that, given an avenue for escape, bears will usually wander back into more secluded areas.

People should not feed bears, either intentionally or unintentionally. Bears that associate food with people become “problem” bears that will not be tolerated by all property owners.

Connecticut has the habitat to support more bears; however, the future of Connecticut’s bear population depends on the actions and attitudes of the human population.

Unlikely to attack a human

The probability of a bear attacking a human is exceptionally low. Therefore, the mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal.

However, the department may attempt to remove bears from urban locations when there is little likelihood that they will leave on their own and when they are in positions where darting is feasible.

The department attempts to monitor bear activity in developed areas in coordination with local public safety officials.

Coordination and cooperation with officials on the scene and local police officials is a key, critical ingredient in educating the public and assuring a safe, desirable outcome in such a situation.