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Appalachia Georgia Friends of the Bears: follow these steps to avoid attracting black bears
black bear
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Local organization Appalachia Georgia Friends of the Bears (AGFOB) is reminding the public that March marks the time for black bears to emerge from their dens and advising people on how to avoid attracting the animals, according to a release by the nonprofit. 

“We already have received reports of adult males and subadults that are out and about,” the release said. “Second to emerge will be the solitary females and sows with yearlings in late-March-mid-April. Finally are the sows with cubs of the year in mid-April-early-May.”

According to the release, Appalachia Georgia has approximately 3,000 black bears. Being aware of these bears and minimizing attractants that can draw them is a way to keep from drawing them into neighborhoods and to help avoid human-bear conflict, the release said. 

“Attractants like birdseed, hummingbird feeders, pet food, livestock food, greasy barbecues, smokers and fish cookers, and other wildlife foods can be accessed by black bears,” the release said. “Minimize attractants and the availability of food rewards throughout your yard and neighborhood.” 

Feeding bears, whether intentionally or not, teaches them to approach homes and people for food, which is a huge cause of human-bear conflict, the release said. Trash access can draw the bears and can also destroy their teeth and digestive tracts to result in a slow and painful death. 

“Store garbage in a sturdy building or place in an approved bear-resistant trash receptacle and put it out on the day of pickup,” the release said. “If trash is stored for multiple days to fester in the heat, it will result in a larger odor signature for bears. The more the signature, the greater the distance for it to travel in the wind. To help reduce this signature, clean your trash can and rinse off any food and drink residue from containers.” 

To learn more about bears and how to reduce human-bear conflict, go to BearWise.org or agfriendsofthebears.com