In the past week, several sightings of bears coming “a little too close for comfort” have been reported. Every year, resourceful bears, focused on filling their bellies, discover that their human neighbors provide a pretty dependable array of garbage, bird seed, pet food and calorie-laden treats hungry bears find hard to resist. And sadly, every year, hundreds of bears lose their lives because they became too skilled at foraging around our homes.

Bears don’t have much choice about where they live, but people do. There are some simple precautions you can take to reduce the chances you’ll wake up one morning to find a bear on your deck, or, your kitchen. If the home of your dreams is still just a gleam in your builder’s eye, you can locate, design, build and landscape in ways that will discourage bears. If you already live in bear country, there are simple adjustments you can make to help keep the wildlife wild.

Black bears seldom venture far from cover, as their normal response to danger is to vanish into the woods or scurry up a tree. They’re often attracted to homes by things left outside that smell good or look familiar. Eau de garbage is a smell a bear’s super-sensitive nose can detect from miles away.

In areas with a lot of bear activity,some bears have learned the kitchen is full of enough food reward to make the risk worthwhile. When you go for a walk, be sure to close windows and lock doors. French doors with lever handles are easy to open, for both people and bears. If a bear has learned that food can be found where people are, he/she may have also discovered that a quick push on the door’s handle gets him inside.  

Your barbecue grill can smell like food long after the burgers are gone and can lure a bear to your property from a surprising distance. Keeping the grill clean, or stored inside, reduces the source of attraction. Bird feeders also appeal to bears, so place them away from the home to keep the bears away.

It is never okay to feed the wildlife. By taking simple precautions, you can reduce or eliminate future visits from furry guests. To learn more, visit: