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If you live in bear country—and that can be anywhere from the rustic California mountains to the hustle and bustle of suburban New Jersey—here are ten simple tips for making your property less bruin-friendly, courtesy of California’s Tahoe Council for Wild Bears.  Many of these common sense solutions are also applicable to conflicts with other urban mammals, such as raccoons and coyotes.

  • Place trash cans at the curb on collection day rather than the night before, and rinse food cans and wrappers before disposal.  Keep garbage cans clean and deodorize them periodically.
  • Don’t leave trash, groceries, or animal feed in your car.
  • Garbage problems can also be solved with the purchase and correct use of a bear-proof garbage container.
  • Harvest fruit off trees as soon as it’s ripe, and promptly collect fruit that falls.
  • Only provide bird feeders outside during the coldest months of the year—generally November through March—and always hang feeders so they’re inaccessible to bears.
  • Place your garden in the open, away from cover, to help discourage bears.
  • Keep barbecue grills clean.
  • Don’t feed pets outdoors.
  • Securely block access to potential hibernation sites such as crawl spaces under decks and buildings.
  • Don’t leave any scented products outside, even nonfood items such as suntan lotion, insect repellent, soap, and candles.

Following these tips also will help prevent problems with smaller wild neighbors—like raccoons and coyotes.

Black bears Close-up

Many assume that bears are exclusively meat eaters while, in fact, plant foods make up the bulk of their diet.


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