With the late spring and early summer months comes an increased number of bear sightings. This time of year bears begin to travel in search of mates or to find a new home after leaving their mother. More often these bears are just passing through and are not likely to stick around or be seen again. However, some bears may stay in an area longer if they have found an easy food source becoming more of a nuisance.
Bears are omnivores meaning they are scavengers and will eat whatever is readily available to them. A bear’s natural diet consists of berries, acorns, and plant and animal material, but bears can’t resist the taste of household waste! If a bear finds easily accessible garbage, pet food, or bird/deer feeders they are more likely to continue to visit that area for easy food.
If a bear is sighted in your area, remain calm, these animals are native to our state and are generally shy creatures. However, keep well away from the bear, don’t approach it and give it space to leave the area. Then step back and marvel in the fact that you just saw one of Alabama’s great wildlife species.
To reduce the chances of a bear becoming a nuisance, you can purchase bear proof trash cans or move trash cans to an indoor secure storage building or garage. Take bird, deer, or outdoor pet feeders down for at least two to three weeks. These steps will remove easy food sources and once a bear realizes food is no longer available they will normally move to another location.
Report any bear sighting online at https://game.dcnr.alabama.gov/BlackBear. If a bear becomes a nuisance, contact your local Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries District Office for assistance and report the issue.