Bears 'n Trashby Doug Spranger, North Shore Drive
Carol and I grew up in Montana where bears are also fairly commonplace but come in a variety of species - nice to nasty. Yankee Lake bears (Black) are basically the ‘nice’ version. That said, black bears are curious, intelligent, always-hungry and like to scavenge. Bears don’t look for trouble but shouldn’t be unnecessarily approached - particularly if IN your garbage.
Out west, there are a variety of specialized garbage cans that are virtually ‘bear-proof’. But with 2,000 times the olfactory sense of human’s, there is no such thing as a scent-proof can. Here in the Northeast (and at Yankee Lake) those of us who have commercial pick-up on Mondays are given an easy-to-open can that screams “come & get me.”
The Black Bear population has certainly increased since the late ‘80’s when we bought the Cutler cabin on North Shore - but last November they raided our garbage nearly every week, so we installed a simpler caribiner-style latch, like several other folks use along our road. It works, to a point, but one night the bear(s) managed to actually unlatch the carabiner after tumbling the can down the road. So we picked up garbage again.
Shortly after that episode, and since I don’t want to keep our trash in the house and then drive to the dump the few days when open, we installed through-bolts (into captive fasteners) to keep the lid closed during the week. And on Sunday night, we still use the simpler caribiner-style latch so the pick-up truck can somewhat easily open the lid before dumping.
So if you see our can upside-down, in the middle of the road on occasion (but unopened!) please remember that we’ve done our best to discourage their scavenging behavior!