With bears waking up, feeders are lures

MONTPELIER — Spring weather is welcomed by all. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department would like to remind Vermonters that warm spring weather and melting snows, while a balm to human souls, will also cause bears to come out of their winter dens in search of food. With that in mind, the department recommends taking down bird feeders on April 1 to avoid attracting those hungry bears.
Bears are very fond of suet and bird seed, especially black oil sunflower seed. Bringing feeders in at night doesn’t work, because bears will still feed on seed that is spilled on the ground.
Bird feeders are just one of the things that can attract hungry bears. Other food sources that bears find appealing are pet food, barbecue grills, garbage, household trash containers, open dumpsters, and campsites with accessible food and food wastes. And in case anyone was wondering, purposely feeding a bear is not only bad for the bear, it’s also illegal.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife also offers the following tips to avoid bear problems:
•  Keep chickens and honeybees secure within an electric fence or other bear-proof enclosure.
•  Never feed bears, deliberately or accidentally.
•  Feed your pets indoors.
•  Store trash in a secure place.  Trash cans alone are not enough.
“We are asking anyone who has a problem with a bear to report the incident in a form that we have on our website, vtfishandwildlife.com, under Living with Wildlife,” said Forrest Hammond, Vermont’s bear biologist. “There is a section in the form where you can ask us to call you to provide advice.”

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