With a dry summer and a poor berry crop, black bears - especially young ones - are more likely to show up looking for food in urban neighborhoods in or near the foothills.
Already several bears have come into town looking for a meal in and near Boise. Here are some tips for city-folks and rural homeowners to avoid most conflicts with bears:
- Keep garbage in bear-proof, latchable containers or inside a closed building until the morning the garbage will be picked up.
- Empty and remove bird feeders during the summer months. Bears find that bird feeders are an easy food source.
- Clean up fruit that has fallen from fruit trees in your yard. Rotting fruit attracts bears as well as raccoons and skunks.
- Feed pets inside or during daylight hours; do not leave pet food or food scraps outside of your home. Table scraps and pet foods attract bears.
- Store horse and livestock grains inside closed barns.
- Don't compost in bear country. Decomposing organic materials will attract bears.
- Keep barbeque grills stored inside closed buildings.
- If you see a bear, notify police, Fish and Game or other authorities; 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.
Most bear complaints happen in late summer when bears are traveling in search of food to fatten up for the winter. Black bears will eat almost anything.