How to Keep Bears Away from Your Home and Property

Ever since my new neighbors told me they once saw a bear in their backyard, I’ve been reluctant to take long walks in my neighborhood. If I do go, it’s with my husband and “fearless” boxer. I do live in the country, as well as in the woods, so I shouldn’t be shocked to learn that meeting up with a bear is a probability.

Then when we joined our new church, just when I was considering joining a Monday night Bible study, someone mentioned the time a bear peeked through a window. Think I’ll stick to my regular Tuesday morning Bible study in the middle town when it starts up again this fall—I might have died of heart failure if I’d been with those ladies that night.

Then, listening to the evening news the other night I learn another bear appeared right in the middle of highway traffic on Interstate 75.

Seems like there’s no where I’m totally bear-free here in the North Georgia Mountains as some bears are not just appearing in wooded areas, but even venturing out onto interstates.

How can you decrease your chances of a bear coming close to your property? First, remember bears are always looking for food—they have about six months to store up enough fat for winter—so now, in late summer, they, like the tiny ant, are gathering food.

*Don’t leave out garbage cans or any other food near your home.

*Take down birdseed feeders. You’d better forget about attracting birds for now. I’d rather give up a hobby than see a hungry bear.

*If you see one while driving, do not get out of your car to take pictures. Once on a tour bus in western Canada we saw a crazy mother who got out of her car to take a picture of a black bear up on a mountain. Our tour director couldn’t believe what we saw as the woman even had small children with her. Meanwhile, we watched in horror as our tour bus drove past them. Thankfully she got back into her car but took a big chance.

*If you encounter a bear taking a walk, try to distract the bear. For example, throw down a water bottle in his direct, but please don’t throw down food— Don’t panic! Don’t run—if you run he’ll attack you. Remember, you can’t outrun a bear so don’t even try.

*Do not place fences next to trees, which the bears can climb and then jump down inside the fence.

*Store garbage indoor in metal bear-proof garbage containers—not outside! Then, on garbage collection day, be sure you place your garbage can out as close as possible as to the time they empty your cans. You don’t want any bears coming for a snack before the trucks get there. If you know you’re going to be out of town, take your garbage to the garbage collection site rather than store it on your swale for days.

*If you see old fruit that has fallen from fruit trees near your property, dispose of it promptly.

The bottom line is you don’t want any food around your property as that’s what attracts bears. If you’re careful to take these precautions, you’ll be much safer from bears coming close to your or your property. The only kind of bear you want to see up close is one behind a cage.

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