For some, cooler weather means additional sweaters, increased heating bills and a great excuse to eat a lot of pie. For others, autumn means big game hunting season. We walk quietly through the woods, in camouflage sometimes sprayed with animal musk, and we bugle to attract animals. While our technique may be good way to attract deer and elk, they are also a good way to attract a curious bear.
While bears are naturally shy creatures, there have been an increased number of incidents with grizzlies this year. A high number of grizzlies have been relocated or removed by wildlife agents due to human food habituation, and there have been two human deaths from grizzly bear attacks this year; a hiker in Yellowstone National Park and a hunter in Lincoln County. Deaths from bear attacks are very rare, but precautions should be taken when hiking, camping and hunting.
Please read Staying Safe in Bear Country where you can learn about bear behavior and how to properly respond to a potential bear attack. Read Tips for Coexistence to learn about safely hunting, camping and hiking in bear country.
Tips for Coexistence also lists ways in which you can keep your yard free from bear attractants. Bears have a very strong sense of smell and are attracted to unsecured garbage, greasy BBQs, dog food, bird feeders and more. Bears that are attracted to human food can become problematic, and may be removed or killed – and they hold the potential to do some decent property damage. Just as we’re putting on a little fat for the winter (ahh, the joy of eating pie), bears are preparing to den for the winter and are focused on eating as many calories as possible: in late summer and early fall black bears can eat up to 20,000 calories a day, grizzly bears twice that much.
Whether you are preparing for a fall hunt, or preparing your BBQ for storage, follow the links above to learn more about being Bear Smart and about responsibly living with bears.