GA DNR Wildlife Resources: Don’t Feed Bears, Be Bear Safe
Bears will act like bears. That might mean rummaging through your trash can, knocking over your bird feeder, or eating your pet’s leftover food on the back porch.
Fortunately, all of these situations are minor and nearly all of them could be avoided by being BearWise, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“One of the six BearWise Basics is about securing food, trash, and recycling. When bears have access to human-provided food, regardless of source or intent, they benefit. , which often leads to other problems,” says WRD bear biologist Adam Hammond. “How can we help? By doing things differently to make these sources unavailable. This isn’t always practical, but it can really pay off in avoiding bigger problems or encounters with bears.
Why is this so important? Usually, bears are just passing through your yard or neighborhood. But a bear that repeatedly finds food in garbage cans, bird feeders, and pet food bowls is unlikely to leave and will grow bolder in its search for easy food. This can result in property damage to homes, garages, vehicles, etc. Once bears learn bad habits and come to rely on people for a “free meal,” they rarely change those behaviors — more often than not, it gets worse with time and experience. If you really care about bears, please go the extra mile to make sure your home and yard are bear-free – to protect yourself, your family and pets, your neighbors and the bears.
BearWise is an educational program developed by state bear biologists, anchored by the www.bearwise.org website, that provides people with specific, detailed, high-quality information to help us live responsibly with bears. bears and keeping bears wild.
The black bear is a symbol of Georgia’s natural diversity as it is the only bear found in the state and it is a conservation success story. Although now considered the most common bear in North America, the species was nearly eradicated from Georgia in the 1930s due to unregulated hunting, illegal harvesting – including the killing of bears in as “vermin” and large-scale habitat loss. Sound wildlife management practices have restored Georgia’s black bears to a thriving population estimated at 4,100 bears statewide.
Black bears can legally be taken during hunting season, which occurs each fall in Georgia (georgiawildlife.com/hunting/hunter-resources). However, taking bears at any other time of the year is called poaching. Prevent poaching by reporting illegal activity (via email, phone, or in person). Visit gadnrle.org/ranger-hotline for more information.
For more information on living responsibly with bears, visit www.bearwise.org.
GA DNR WRD