As summer temperatures continue to rise and natural food sources for bears become harder to find, human interactions with bears are on the increase.
As campers, backpackers and hikers venture into the woods the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking them to be mindful of their food and garbage. The same cautions apply to homeowners in bear country.
Black bears travel great distances while switching from spring to summer foods and when berries and other natural foods are scarce, human food becomes appealing. If it tastes good to people, bears will probably like it too.
Tips for around camp:
¥ Keep a clean camp. Pick up garbage and store it in a closed vehicle or in a plastic bag tied high between two trees. Store all food in a bear-resistant container, camper or vehicle, or hang it from a rope strung high between two trees. Never keep food in a tent.
¥ Don't cook near tents or sleeping areas, and don't wear the clothes you cook in to bed.
¥ Don't bury food scraps, pour out cooking grease, or leave anything that might be tasty on the ground or in the fire pit. Also, store barbecue grills or other smelly cooking gear inside your vehicle or within a sealed bear resistant container. Bears have a tremendous sense of smell, and they will come looking for an easy meal.
¥ If you see a bear, watch it from a distance and leave it alone. Black bears are not usually aggressive, but the danger may increase if a bear loses its fear of humans.
¥ Black bears are excellent tree climbers.
Tips for homeowners to avoid most conflicts with bears:
¥ Keep garbage in bear-proof containers. Keep garbage in a closed building until the morning the garbage will be picked up.
¥ Empty and remove bird feeders during the summer months. Songbirds are able to forage on food provided by nature. Bears find bird feeders an easy food source.