CONCORD — As summer heats up, N.H. Fish and Game is urging homeowners, campers, and everyone else to be bear aware.
Early summer continues to represent a lean time for bears, according to Andy Timmins, Fish and Game bear biologist. June is considered a “transition period” between spring and summer foods. The succulent, emerging vegetation that bears fed on during spring has lowered in quality as a food source and the summer fruit crops are not yet ripe.
“This period of low food abundance causes bears to search out high-quality, readily available foods provided by humans, and is the main reason why the majority of bear complaints in New Hampshire occur during June and July,” Timmins said.
Additionally, this time period coincides with the peak tourist season and a time when a lot of residents and visitors are recreating outside in bear habitat. Campgrounds are full, restaurant Dumpsters are overflowing, and human-related food attractants are highly abundant across the landscape.
Fish and Game urges individuals and businesses to remove any bear attractant from their property. Bears seek out the highest quality foods in their home range. When natural foods are low in quality (fat and protein), bears will seek out foods like birdseed, poultry grain, pet foods, and garbage which are higher in fat, protein and carbohydrates.
Be proactive by removing birdfeeders during spring and summer, secure garbage and protect poultry and livestock with electric fence. Think about long-term solutions to common problems.
“Above all, the public must understand that it is illegal to intentionally feed bears in New Hampshire and you can be fined if caught,” Timmins said. “Intentional feeding causes extreme problems and is highly detrimental to bears. This activity habituates bears, which may result in the bear having to be destroyed due to negative behavior. Once a bear becomes accustomed to human areas and foods, the behavior is nearly impossible to break. If you respect bears, keep them wild and don’t tempt them with food.”