Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff in the Colville office get a lot of questions from the public. One they have heard frequently lately is: I am having
problems with bears around my home, particularly getting into my trash and chicken feed. What should I do about this?
WDFW officers and wildlife conflict staff have already responded to several situations involving bears this year; mostly due to human-provided attractants, which are entirely preventable.
Bears are driven by their sense of smell and often look for the easiest source of high-protein food, which may include bird seed, pet or livestock food, and garbage.
While bears are naturally wary of humans, they often overcome their fear when people- whether intentionally or unintentionally- provide them with food. Some tips to prevent attracting bears and avoiding bear interactions include:
– Never intentionally feed them or other wild animals.
– Keep garbage in a garage or enclosed hard-sided structure, like a shed, until
collection day or you haul it to the dump.
– Take down bird feeders.
– Store livestock food, like chicken scratch, inside a hard-sided structure
– Store pet food indoors and feed pets inside.
– Clean up fallen fruit around your home.
– Clean barbecue grills after each use and store them in a secure building. And
– Cage and electric fence domestic fowl and livestock pens.
It is dangerous for bears when they check out our homes and communities to see what’s on the menu. They often have to be put down once they become habituated to humans. If you have a bear around your home or are experiencing bear damage, please call WDFW’s region 1 office at 509-892-1001 to report it and speak to an officer or conflict specialist.
If you have a question for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, send it to email@example.com or call 509-563-5495. One question a week will be answered. In the meantime, you can find a lot of answers to fish, wildlife and habitat questions at wdfw.wa.gov.