Now is the time to look at bear-proofing your property | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Now is the time to look at bear-proofing your property

Now is the time to consider possible bear attractants and deal with them before B.C.'s bears begin awakening from hibernation in about a month's time.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Wildsafe B.C.
March 01, 2020 - 9:30 AM

With the arrival of warmer weather, bears will be returning, they'll be hungry and residents in interface areas might want to be prepared.

Wildsafe B.C. Provincial Coordinator Vanessa Isnardy says a number of black bear sightings have already been reported so far this year.

“There were 158 black bear reports provincewide in January and 40 in February, which is close to average,” she said in an email earlier this week.

Isnardy says bear sighting numbers should really start picking up in April, but now is the time for homeowners to get proactive to ensure attractants like garbage and compost are secured and brought inside a structure if possible.

“Barbecues are also very attractive to bears. There was a report of a bear in Enderby attracted by a barbecue,” Isnardy says.

Now is also the time to clean up bird feeders and reduce the amount of food put out. They should be taken down and cleaned soon. Bird feeders placed outside on a year-round basis can also attract rats and other rodents.

Isnardy says bird feeders should be made inaccessible to bears, a challenging thing to do since bears are excellent climbers.

It’s also a good time to start thinking about how to make your garden as bear-resistant as possible. Fruit trees should be pruned back so they are easy to manage and electric fencing options considered before fruit is on the tree.

If fruit is not being consumed, the blossoms can be power sprayed off the tree in spring as a quick fix. Without blossoms, there won’t be any fruit.

Rural homeowners with beehives or chicken coops might also want to protect their investments with an electric fence.

Isnardy says bears that leave their dens around this time of year will often return to their dens if they can't find food.

"If they access unnatural foods, they may get active and get into further conflict," she says.

All the more reason to make sure there isn't any reason for them to come onto your property.

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