Recent incidents highlight need to stay ‘bear smart’ in Vermont

This article appeared Aug. 6 in the Brattleboro Reformer.

MONTPELIER — As incidents of bears breaking into homes, garages, sheds and vehicles in Vermont increases, so too should efforts by residents to bear-proof their homes and secure potential outdoor food sources that can attract bears.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, a bear caused this vehicle damage.

While searching for food in early July, one bear broke into a Killington home through an open window, and another Killington bear entered the Northstar Lodge through an open door. A Pownal woman awoke to the sound of a bear breaking through a kitchen window to access a honey comb that had been left within reach, while a similar incident occurred in Townsend where a bear broke into a kitchen freezer.

According to Vermont State Game Warden Sergeant Chad Barrett, bears don’t naturally break into homes. They must first have had experience receiving food from humans. The process of habituation begins with attractants that residents leave out such as birdseed, pet food, or unsecured garbage.

“When bears get into garbage, pet food, beehives, and birdfeeders without any consequences, their behavior escalates as they lose fear of humans and begin to cause more damage,” said Barrett. “Once a bear is conditioned to associate people with food, little can be done to fix the problem. Relocating bears is ineffective. Bears that have been lured into a neighborhood by one careless resident quickly become a problem for the entire community.”

Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Images courtesy of Public domain and Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department