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Prepare Yourself as Bears Prepare to Hibernate

You are currently viewing Prepare Yourself as Bears Prepare to Hibernate
The black bear is far less dangerous than many believe it to be.
  • Post category:Blogs

From an early age we are taught what bears do in the wintertime, they hibernate. This means that they have to prepare for a season of isolation, which they will do so by any means. In Texas, the native black bear is doing its last-minute preparations for the winter months, collecting more food before taking shelter. This means that, despite what many may assume, black bears are likely out and about more often this time of year. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued a report of tips for residents to prevent interactions with bears and what to do if one happens.

How to Prevent a Bear Encounter

The first thing to know about black bears is that they have an incredible sense of smell. The black bear’s appetite drives much of its actions, meaning if they pick up on a scent that is appealing to them, they will stop at virtually nothing until they get the whatever it is they smell for their meal. Since these last few weeks before winter officially start are their last opportunity to pig out, their appetite drive is kicked into high gear.

Because they are appetite driven, guided by their incredible sense of smell, the easiest way to prevent black bear encounters is to keep any food scents under wraps. Bears will eat just about anything, meaning they will target trash, pet food, and food from wildlife feeders outside. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued a statement suggesting people to double bag their trash, double bag their pet food, and limit any exterior feedings of animals. If possible, they also suggest keeping trash inside until just before trash pick-up day, otherwise you may find a bear digging through your garbage cans. They also even sell bear-proof garbage containers, which reduce the risk of a black bear encounter significantly.

If you are worried about bear encounters still, you can also construct an “unwelcome mat.” This would be some sort of mat, often made from wood, nails, and brads that are placed under doors and windows or around exterior food storage like outdoor refrigerators and freezers.

What to do if You See a Bear

Now, obviously there are only so many preventative measures you can take to keep bears away. Even with all of these in place, there is the potential that you may come across a bear. The good news is black bears are not typically aggressive to humans. Still, keep safe and follow this guide. If you see a bear, avoid direct eye contact and do not run. Stand your ground and make your frame as large as possible while yelling at the bear to scare it off. As soon as possible, be sure to report the bear sighting to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and/or your local authorities.