Bears are out; know the do’s, don’ts

Remember this: A fed bear is a dead bear.

Spring is here and Washington’s black bears are waking up hungry. And sows often have cubs in tow.

It’s best to keep a lot of distance between yourself and a bear. But hikers, backpackers and others using the woods may find themselves suddenly too close.

“If a close encounter occurs, stand tall, make noise, and back away slowly,” advises Lorna Smith, executive director of Port Townsend-based Western Wildlife Outreach.

Bear spray should be carried where it can be easily reached and you need to be prepared to use it, she said.

Not only are bears a danger in the forest, their need to feed draws them closer to neighborhoods where the pickings are easy.

A bear’s sense of smell may lead it to hone in on human-provided food. Follow these tips to preventing bear problems at home:

Garbage: Store garbage and animal feed inside buildings or in bear-resistant containers. Keep your garbage secured until the morning of your scheduled pickup. Encourage neighbors to do the same.

Gardens and compost: Plant gardens out in the open, away from cover. Avoid composting meat and turn your compost over frequently. Finely chopped fruit and vegetable matter will decompose faster and is less likely to attract bears. A quality electric fence used properly can keep bears out of gardens and compost piles, and away from buildings and domestic animals.

Livestock and beehives: Domestic animals, including chickens, may attract bears. Secure your livestock behind electric fences.

Bird feeders: Bears love to eat birdseed and suet. Take down bird feeders from April through October. Clean up dropped seeds and hulls.

Barbecues: Regularly clean barbecue grills, especially the grease trap, after each use.

Pets: Feed pets indoors or pick up excess and spilled food between meals and clean all pet dishes

Freezers: Keep freezers locked in a secure building or otherwise out of reach of bears.

A new Washington State Law prohibits the feeding of carnivores, including bears, either intentionally or negligently. Involved parties may be subject to a $1.000 fine.

Bears that become habituated to humans and the food they provide are labeled as “problem bears” and could need to be destroyed.

More in Local News

Inslee’s budget solves school funding with help from carbon

His budget would use reserves to boost education, then replenish them with a carbon tax or fee.

Man, 29, injured by shots fired at Everett thrift store

The gunfire followed an argument in the parking lot of Value Village on Evergreen Way.

In adult court, four teens plead not guilty to murder

Prosecutors allege they worked together to plan and execute a drug robbery in Everett.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

Old Silvana Creamery recalling whole raw milk

The milk was sold at the farm store, directly to customers and at local stores.

Police looking for leads in case of missing Snohomish man

Henry John Groeneveld, 63, was last seen on Monday, when he said something about going to “the river.”

Most Read