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Bears Are Back Looking Hungrily At Your Garbage Cans


Black bears are out and about after the extended winter and they're hungry. That fact makes your backyard birdfeeder or trash can, to them, the equivalent of the local drive-in fast food place.

Brad Koele is a DNR wildlife damage specialist in Woodruff. Koele says he's already had a bear sniffing around his house...

....me, for example, we had a few problems with bear that hit our garbage can the night of (garbage) pickuo, We learned, we're taking steps to remove that. Keep our garbage can in the garage until the day of pickup, or the morning of pickup and then put it out there. Since we've made those adjustments, we haven't had any additional problems with the bear..."

Koele has some tips you encounter a bear on your property...

"...try to appear large, make noise, don't startle it, Slowly back away and get into a safe environment. Don't approach the bear, don't make any aggressive gestures toward it. Make your presence known and slowly back away and out of the situation...."

Koele says birdfeeders should be removed even during the day and bears will come around whenever there is a feeder. He says keep the area clean. Reduce garbage odors by cleaning cans before putting them in the garbage. Keep the garbage cans in an enclosed building until garbage pick up. Keep pet food inside or inaccessible to bears and keep your outdoor tables clean.

The department partners with U.S. Department of Agriculture - Wildlife Services to respond to approximately 800 bear-related complaints reported in Wisconsin each year. Northern Wisconsin homeowners who are unable to resolve a conflict with a bear should contact the USDA Wildlife Services 1-800-228-1368.

More information is on the DNR website.

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