With March beginning and Spring not too far behind, officials with the Appalachia Georgia Friends of Bears say it’s almost time for black bears to start emerging from their dens and members of the public should be prepared.
In a press release from the conservation group, hikers, campers and citizens in the north Georgia area were reminded that adult males and subadult bears will begin to emerge from hibernation in early to mid-March, followed closely by solitary female bears, sows with yearlings, and sows with cubs in March, April and May.
Upon waking up, the bears will be hungry and looking for food, the release said, and leaving out items such as birdseed, pet food and greasy barbecues will attract them.
Minimizing these types of attractants in your yard and neighborhood will not only help to keep the bears away from your home, but it will also help to protect the bears themselves.
“The intentional and unintentional feeding of bears teaches them to approach homes and people for food which is a recipe for Human-Bear conflict,” the release said. “Studies in Canada have shown that two-thirds of Human-Bear conflict were related to improperly stored garbage.”
In addition to minimizing the attractants left outside, the Friends of Bears also caution the public to take care of the way garbage is stored. Storing garbage in a sturdy building or a bear-resistant receptacle, as well as putting it out on the day of pickup rather than further in advance, will help keep it away from bears that might otherwise be attracted to it.
For more information on black bears and on reducing conflict with bears, visit BearWise.org or agfriendsofthebears.com.
If you are aware or suspect poaching or feeding of black bears, call the Georgia DNR “Call the Ranger Hotline” at 1-800-241-4113.