Saturday, July 8, 2017

Learning to live with black bears

We've had no trouble from BooBoo, the little bear who eats clover near our house
We heard a bunch of rifle shots about midnight last night and that was most likely one of the neighbours shooting at a bear.
So far we have not had any bear problems at our house and although  that can just be luck I also know a lot of that success comes from our learning how to live with bears at camp.
Bears are only interested in one thing -- food. In order to avoid conflicts with them you have to develop the habit of never leaving anything edible outside. It only takes one incident to start them coming each night in search of more. Things escalate very quickly with the result being the bear shot and killed.
The usual attraction is garbage. Garbage cans must always be kept inside a building and must be emptied regularly and washed out frequently.
Here in Nolalu, a rural township southwest of Thunder Bay, many people keep farm animals and that means they also need to lock up the animal feed.
Sometimes the bears go after the animals themselves but that is fairly uncommon and can often be prevented by installing electric fences around pens. The same measure could keep deer out of gardens, especially when combined with a tall deer fence.
It is a bad idea to have any kind of composter with its alluring smells. It is also unwise to leave your house unattended with the windows open.
While some people seem to consider such measures a hardship I just see it as life in bear country.
I also recognize that you can do everything right and eventually still have a problem. At camp we had to shoot three bears in the 26 years that Brenda and I ran the place. That was regrettable but  a pretty good record considering all the guests that came through camp in that time.

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