The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reminds the public that black bears in South Carolina are waking up from their winter hibernation and leaving their dens.
These large animals are undoubtedly starving after such a long sleep and they are in search of easy food.
According to SCDNR the most common human-bear conflicts involve unsecured food attractants. And to prevent bears from passing, the department asks the residents to secure food attractants such as garbage, bird feeders, and pet food.
The SCDNR makes the following recommendations for safer coexistence with bears:
- Birdfeed and feeders: If a bear starts getting into your bird feeders, take the feeders down and put them away for a while; the bear will move on quickly.
- No garbage: Keep garbage in tightly shut or bear-proof trash cans. Garbage left in the open, in an open dumpster, or in the back of a truck is an open invitation for a bear.
- Pet food storage: Store pet food properly if kept outside. Put pet food in airtight storage containers, and don’t leave leftover food out in the open.
- Clean grills: Keep charcoal and gas grills covered and clean to keep food odors from attracting bears.
- Beehives: If you’re going to have beehives in bear territory, protect your investment with an electric, bear-proof fence.
- No feeding: A bear that becomes accustomed to having food provided is an accident waiting to happen. Feeding bears promote nuisance behavior.
- Keep wildlife wild: NEVER approach a bear for any reason, especially for a photo. Bears can defend themselves. Give bears their space and they will move on.
- Keep a clean camp at all times. Keep tents and sleeping bags free of food.
- Hang all food, trash, and other odorous items well away from camp and at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from any vertical support, or store in a bear-proof container.
- Treat livestock feed the same as human food.
For any black bear sighting, you can report it at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/bear/sightingform.html.
In the event of a black bear attack or emergency, dial 1-800-922-5431 or 911.