With the arrival of spring, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reminds residents to practice diligent bear awareness.
Residents should make household garbage unavailable to bears, prior to bears becoming active around town. Removing attractants before bears emerge from hibernation will encourage them to seek natural food sources and help alleviate problems associated with food-conditioned bears later this summer. ADF&G regulations prohibit negligently leaving out food and garbage in a manner that attracts bears. Local ordinances prohibit putting trash out until the morning of pickup.
To help prevent issues with bears this summer, ADF&G recommends the following:
• Garbage: Store trash inside buildings or in bear-proof containers; keep it secured until the morning of scheduled pick up. To minimize garbage odors, recyclable waste should be frozen until the day of pick up or until the items can be properly disposed. Particularly smelly items should be taken to the transfer station, which allows utilities customers 200 pounds of free disposal per month.
• Electric fences: Properly constructed electric fences are a highly effective deterrent to keep bears out of gardens, fish smokers and away from chicken coops and domestic animals.
• Barbecues: Clean grills after each use.
• Pets: Feed pets indoors or clean up excess and spilled food between meals. Store pet food indoors. Never sic your dog on a bear.
• Bird feeders: Take feeders down April through October.
• Gardens: Plant gardens in the open, away from cover and game trails. Compost only raw vegetable matter and turn it over frequently.
Hikers, walkers and joggers are reminded to be alert for bears, especially during early mornings and late evenings. Avoid the use of earbuds while hiking or running trails to stay aware of your surroundings. Be safe and bear smart by traveling in groups, making noise and keeping dogs on a leash.
For additional information and questions, contact the ADF&G at 747-5449.
• This is a Juneau Empire report.