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Take Steps to Avoid Potential Conflicts with Black Bears
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/22/2021

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encourages residents to take precautions to avoid potential conflicts with black bears across the state as they emerge from their dens early this spring.

Wildlife experts say black bears are most common in the northern half of the state, but populations have been slowly expanding southward for the past few decades.

"As the weather warms and we all get outside more, some of our activities can generate food sources for bear," said Brad Koele, DNR Wildlife Damage Specialist. "Grilling outdoors, feeding birds, pet food provided outside and unsecured trash cans can lead to conflict when they become bear food sources. It is important to make sure these attractants are inaccessible to bear at all times of the year, but it's especially important in spring when natural food sources are limited."

Koele says bears are normally solitary forest animals, but their powerful sense of smell can lead them into urban areas in search of food, especially in the spring and fall. Black bears are secretive animals and usually try to avoid people. However, conflicts with humans can occur when bears destroy gardens, bird feeders, apiaries and trash cans.

If a bear is near your home or cabin, wave your arms and make noise to scare it away. Back away slowly and seek a safe location where you can wait for the bear to leave.

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