Help! There’s a bear in my yard

What should you do if you look out the window and there’s a black bear nosing around your bird feeder or trash, taking a dip in your swimming pool, or investigating something that looks or smells interesting?
A. Call 911
B. Call the neighbors to come watch
C. Offer food, the bear is probably hungry
D. Make lots of noise and yell at the bear
E. Encourage your dog to chase the bear

If you picked D, good for you! You’re more BearWise than the average person.

Discourage the Bear

  • From an open window or a safe place on your porch or deck, yell at the bear, bang pots and pans, and do your best to let it know it’s not welcome around your home.
  • DO NOT let your dog out or let your dog chase the bear. A bear may view a charging dog as aggressive and respond by defending itself or its cubs, which could injure or kill your dog. Or the bear may climb a tree in your yard to escape and stay there until it feels safe.
  • Teaching bears it’s OK to hang around homes almost always leads to problems for both people and bears. So don’t offer food or encourage it to stay so you can watch and take photos.
  • Give the bear an escape route. Anxious, nervous bears can run over people or pets standing in the way of freedom.

Investigate and Remove Attractants

After the bear leaves, walk around your house and property to figure out what attracted it in the first place. These are just a few of the things tempt hungry bears:

  • Bird feeders
  • Dirty grill
  • Trash or smelly garbage cans
  • Compost pile
  • Ripening fruits
  • Pet food
  • Backyard chickens

The bear may come back, especially if it found anything edible, so remove all attractants. Then alert your neighbors so they too can remove anything that may attract bears.

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