There have been a number of bear encounters and sightings around the lake. Black bears by nature tend to be wary of humans and avoid people. However, if you encounter a black bear in your neighborhood or outdoors, follow these common-sense safety tips.
Never feed a bear!
We are training bears to wander the roads around our lake, because we put out garbage that attracts them. They are learning that those standardized garbage cans at the street contain food. We need to un-train them!
The outside of the garbage cans are often not clean, and the smell attracts the bear to investigate. So, please bleach the cans periodically, inside and out, to kill any smell.
Do not put any bags of garbage alongside the can for pickup. The bear will rip it up and scatter it along the road and in the woods. And it will be your job to pick it all up!
Please put your garbage cans out near the road on Sunday, as late as possible, for Monday morning pick-up.
Secure the lids of your garbage cans! Here is a link to a short video of a bear wrestling the garbage can of Yankee Lake's Doug and Carol Spranger. Can your trash can survive such a challenge? The can in the video couldn't, either, until Doug had made a few modifications to the lid. See his changes here.
Don't have food visible inside your home from a window. If they see something through your window that looks (and smells!) like food, they might try to get inside.
Bird feeders are bear feeders! Bears love sunflower seeds. Put bird feeders out in November but bring them in the first of March. Only have hummingbird feeders out in the spring and summer.
The bear also love blueberries. If you are out picking wild berries in the woods, be very aware of your surroundings. A bear could perceive you as trying to steal its food.
Outdoor grills and picnic tables can have lingering smells of food. Try to burn off your grill when done cooking, and clean outdoor tables after eating.
Never approach a bear! They are usually just looking for food and water. They are not interested in you unless you smell like food. Leave them alone and they will probably leave you alone.
The exception is if there is a cub involved. Never get between an adult bear and a cub!
If you spot a bear, remain calm.
Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, blowing a whistle, or making other noises.
Make sure the bear has an escape route.
If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping doors open.
Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge.
Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.
To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn.
A bear's vision is not good, so make your blurry self look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head, waving and yelling.
The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact, and do not run.
If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior, but if you have food or candy in your hands, pockets, backpack, etc., get rid of it! That may be what has gotten their attention.
Black bears will sometimes “bluff charge” when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.
If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.
Families who live in areas with high black bear populations should have a “Bear Plan” in place for children, with whistles, air horns and an escape route.
Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back!