The arrival of spring may bring with it some unwanted – and dangerous – guests. The Missouri Department of Conservation is warning state residents to be “bear aware.” It’s estimated that 350 native black bears will be waking from hibernation and leaving their winter dens. The MDC wants people to remember to be more diligent in cleaning up trash, and refrain from providing things that can serve as food sources to attract the bears, including bird feeders, trash, barbecue grills, and food waste.
- Clean your grills and smokers and store them inside
- Don’t leave pet food outside
- Store garbage and recyclables in a secure building until pick-up
- If you use a birdfeeder, hang it at least 10 feet high and four feet from any structure
- Use electric fencing to keep bears away from beehives, chicken coops, orchards, or vegetable gardens
When you’re outdoors in bear country, clap, sing, or do anything else to make noise, travel in groups, and watch for any signs of bears. If you encounter one, leave it alone and back away slowly…don’t turn away or run from it.