Bears are majestic creatures. They look like giant teddies, but they are also highly intelligent (in fact, they are almost human-like at times). Bears can be very enjoyable, but it almost goes without saying that they are best enjoyed at a distance. But what happens if you are no longer enjoying them at any distance (or if you would rather not enjoy them at ANY distance?)
There are many ways available for you to get rid of a pesky bear (or several of them!) Here are several suggestions for getting rid of any variety of bear. Disclaimer: if you are dealing with a grizzly bear, do not attempt to get rid of it on your own! Grizzly bears are very dangerous. Make sure you recognize and know the difference between types of bears. Your own personal safety is of the utmost importance! Many bears are not out to harm people, but they are very large and potentially dangerous animals nonetheless. Do not provoke ANY type of bear, that is a fight you most certainly do not want to be a part of. Do not get between them and their food, and ESPECIALLY their cubs.
In colder climates, bears are usually active between the months of May and October. If you live in a wooded area or any area known for having bears, always be on the alert. This includes taking account for your family members and pets. Your dog will not win a fight with a bear, so keep it on a leash or in a fenced in area.
1. Be careful with and mindful of your food.
Avoid having things like fruit trees or beehives around your property (yes, the classic image of a beer eating honey is very real!) If you have fruit tress of beehives and want to keep them, consider installing an electric fence around this area. An electric shock will not harm a bear but it most certainly will frighten it! Bears are very attentive to stimuli like this that they are not familiar with, and a quick electric zap can be just the ticket to frighten them away.
In general, do not leave any food around outside at all. Do not keep a refrigerator outside (especially an old one), as bears have a great sense of smell and will use their smarts to find a way into your fridge. Bears will eat almost anything, including many things that humans would never even consider to eat in the slightest. Lock your dumpsters if you can, or store things indoors where bears cannot get access to them. Consider getting a bear-proof dumpster if the problem continues, or use the electric fence trick around your dumpster. Garbage is also very harmful to bears: they will get sick and could even die.
2. Do not feed bears.
Feeding bears is never a good idea. As mentioned, bears are very unlikely to attack humans, but if you have a tasty smelling treat you are trying to feed a bear, they could easily mistake you for a snack. Feeding bears also makes them forget how to survive in the wild, and will make them dependent on these sort of handouts from humans. Because bears are also very intelligent, they will be certain to return (likely in numbers) to any area where they received food. Do not leave any food outside. Clean up your cooking grills and cooking areas outside after you have used them, and take in all of your pet’s dishes, especially if they have food left in them. If you keep a compost pile, consider having it locked up or use an electric fence around it. Any food source will have the bears coming back for more! Add lime to your compost pile to reduce odors that will attract bears.
3. Use knobs instead of levers.
Because bears are so smart, they know how to figure things out very quickly. If you have levers on your doors, consider switching them to knobs instead. This way you can store things in enclosed areas that bears will be unable to access. Cutting down on the smell is one of the best ways to make sure bears STAY away, so try to keep any food source (or any smell that might interest a bear) as contained as you can.
4. Scare the bear.
Bears can be easily startled by sudden noises or distractions. Consider getting an air horn to keep in your backyard, or to take along with you on a hike into the woods. Noisemakers can quickly and easily get a bear off of your case. Flares or other form of bright lights, like fireworks, can also be useful in a pinch. Projectiles thrown in a bear’s direction might also make them think twice about returning to an area.
But what should you do if you find yourself in very close quarters with a bear? Consider using pepper spray. Carry a bear deterrent with you if you are in the woods or if you are in an area with a lot of bears to create a quick solution if you suddenly encounter a bear. This spray does not have permanent or damaging effects but it should certainly clear the bear off in a hurry!
Whatever tactic you decide to use, if you find yourself in direct contact with a bear, always have a STRONG ATTITUDE and maintain direct eye contact with the bear. Make yourself as big as possible (raising your voice by yelling, or extending your arms in an upright manner may also help scare away a bear). Make sure the bear has somewhere to escape to if you find yourself in close quarters with it. Do NOT back a bear into a corner. You do not want to make your efforts to scare the bear away look like you are attacking the bear. Be confident and stand your ground! If need be, take a small rush or lunge at a bear, but never get within fifteen feet of one. This tactic is especially useful if there are several people trying to scare away a bear at once, but it can also work if you are by yourself as well.
5. Coordinate with your neighbors.
All of your hard work might be for nothing if you are the only one trying to get rid of bears in an area (assuming you have neighbors). The bear problem will continue to persist! You need a team effort to get these bears to stay away. Get everyone working together to try and solve this issue. If you are the only one making an effort, you can almost guarantee bears will return, so encourage them to follow these suggestions as well.
Bears are great in the right setting, but it is understandable if you have grown tired of their presence, are irritated by them rooting through your trash, or are just downright scared of them in general. Don’t let bears get you down! While they are very curious animals (and hungry ones), it is entirely possible to avoid bears (and get them to avoid you in the process). Follow these steps, and with any luck you will have “bearly” anything to worry about!