DNR reminds people to take precautions as black bear emerge

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Just like many of us are coming out of hibernation after a long winter, so are bears!

The Department of Natural Resources is reminding homeowners to take precautions against conflicts with them.

The DNR says springtime is when it typically receives the highest number of complaints about bears especially as they're coming out of their dens in search for food

Wildlife Biologist Bill Hogseth explained, “There's not a lot of natural food sources available because spring is still early yet so it's not uncommon for bear to come into people's yards looking for food.”

Hogseth says black bears normally avoid contact with people but can become bolder once they learn to associate humans with food.

“That can include anything from bird feeders, to garbage cans, to grills even to dirty picnic tables are things that attract bears to your place as they look for a meal,” said Hogseth.

The DNR says once bears find food near your home they'll likely return.

“If that bear finds a food source it's going to be revisiting those sites where it did get a meal,” said Hogseth. “We recommend that you take that bird feeder down so the next time it visits that site it does not find a meal. You want to teach that bear if they visit your home or property that it's not going to get a meal so taking your birdfeeder down for at least a couple weeks before you put them back up is advised.”

Hogseth also suggest reducing garbage odors by rinsing food cans before putting them in bins, keeping barbeque grills and picnic tables clean as well as keeping pet food indoors.

“We want to coexist with wildlife and part of that is making sure we're not creating situations where we have conflicts between the animal living in its natural habit and us living in our homes and properties,” added Hogseth.

The DNR says if you do encounter a bear make loud noises, wave your hands, and then slowly retreat to somewhere safe.

Homeowners who are unable to resolve a conflict with a bear should contact USDA Wildlife Services.