Black bears have a big appetite, an excellent sense of smell, and the ability to remember a food source year after year, which is why preventing conflicts with bears is necessary.

You can help your community reduce bear conflicts by following these simple steps:

—Remove potential food sources, like bird feeders, from your yard.

—Keep pet food inside or in a secured area.

—Keep garbage and odor at a minimum by removing trash often, storing trash in a secured area, and cleaning the container with disinfectant.

—Keep grills and picnic tables clean.

—Protect apiaries (bee hives), fruit trees, and gardens from bears with electric fencing.

It is safer for both bears and people to keep wildlife at a distance. While putting out feeders for bird watching during the winter is a fun and safe activity, feeders can attract more than songbirds during the spring, summer and fall months. Removing them now reduces the risk of attracting bears or other curious wildlife to your property.