DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

April 18, 2013

Avoid bears in the back yard; take feeders down

CONCORD -– While this past winter was certainly not severe by New Hampshire standards, it was a more normal winter compared to 2012. Nonetheless, spring is here, the snow is melting fast, and bears are getting active across the Granite State.

To help prevent bear visits, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommends taking down birdfeeders from April 1 to Dec. 1.

If you or someone you know still needs convincing, just watch the Fish and Game video of a bear family taking down a backyard birdfeeder at youtube.com/watch?v=aJ-_nDnQJ_w&feature=youtu.be.

The New Hampshire public needs to be proactive and take action now to prevent attracting a bear to their home. Last year was severe in terms of conflicts between bears and the public and resulted in a record total of more than 1,100 statewide complaints, according to Fish and Game Bear biologist Andrew Timmins.

This was predominately due to the fact that most natural bear foods were completely absent during spring and summer. Droughty conditions in 2012, coupled with blossom-killing frost in May, led to poor fruit crops. Fall production of acorns and beechnuts was not much better.

The N.H. Fish and Game Department has spent the past 20 years working to increase public awareness to the fact that bears are readily attracted to backyard human-related food sources. Despite that fact, nearly 10 percent of the bear complaints last year involved bears at bird feeders.

In addition, approximately 40 percent of the complaints were the direct result of bears raiding unsecured garbage at homes and businesses. These two common food attractants accounted for half of the total bear-human conflicts in New Hampshire during 2012.

“About half of the annual complaints last year could have easily been avoided by removing birdfeeders for the spring and summer season and securing garbage,” Timmins said. “Remove these two common attractants and do your part to minimize conflicts. The N.H. Fish and Game Department and your neighbors thank you for your efforts.”

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