Gov. Bill Walker proclaimed April to be Bear Awareness Month for good reason: bears have been roused earlier than usual from hibernation due to the unseasonably mild weather Alaska has had recently.
State wildlife officials from the Division of Wildlife Conservation and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have released these tips to the public on how to stay safe around bears:
• Garbage: Store trash inside buildings or in bear-proof containers; keep secured until the day of scheduled pickup. Encourage neighbors to do the same.
• Electric fences: Electric fences can keep bears out of gardens, compost and away from buildings, chicken coops and domestic animals. For more information, contact ADFG or visit adfg.alaska.gov.
• Barbecues: Clean barbecue grills, especially grease traps, after each use.
Pets: Feed pets indoors or clean up excess and spilled food between meals. Store pet food, livestock food and birdseed indoors or in bear-resistant containers.
• Bird Feeders: Take feeders down April through October, store out of bears’ reach and remove spilled seeds.
• Freezers: Keep freezers locked in a secure building or otherwise out of bears’ reach.
• Gardens: Plant gardens in the open, away from cover and game trails. Only compost raw vegetable matter.