This young bear was spotted wandering through downtown Asheville a few weeks ago. No one was hurt and lots of folks were treated to a close encounter with a bear! (Photos courtesy of Asheville Citizen Times.)
There have been lots of reports this year of black bears in town already. Two goats and one dog have died locally from bear attacks. Click on the words for the local newspaper story about them. The bear population is on the rise here and so is the human population - not good for the bears. Last fall less food was available for the bears to store up for hibernation so they woke up hungry this spring.
We had a bear try to get into our screen porch last year late at night. We have hog wire nailed to the wood frame under the screen and that kept the bear out. I have not put bird feeders out except for the hummingbird one this year and keep the cat food inside.
Yesterday I went off to town to a doctor appointment and was only gone 2 hours from 1pm until 3pm. When I got home the screen was all torn off the porch yet again - with rips and holes in the screen. Looks like he tried to pull on the hog wire but it held thank God. My cats like to use the porch and they would have gotten out or possibly hurt by the bear who was most likely looking for the dry cat food.
I put the screen back up and booby trapped the area next to is with metal wire tomato cages, trellises and poles hoping it will deter him if he gets caught in it. Plus it will make noise. This looks like it will be a long summer for us and bears. Our neighbors have lots of livestock but also have guns...so I do pity the poor bear who messes with any of them.
Below are tips from the local police about how to handle any encounters with bears -
- If a black bear attacks you, fight back. Punch, kick, scratch — whatever you can do to discourage the bear.
- Bear pepper spray can be effective in an attack.
- Don't leave garbage cans outside. Bears can smell food sources from way off and will make a habit of visiting the cans daily.
- Never feed bears. It helps eliminate their natural fear of humans and can lead to problems that ultimately result in bears being put down.
- Don't leave pet food outdoors.
- Bird and squirrel feeders also will entice bears.
- Bears have excellent memories, so if you only move the trash or food inside for a few days, the bears likely will come back in a few weeks to check.
UPDATE - Mr Bear returned two days later at the same time! I was home and went to go outdoors and noticed the screen all down again. This time we reinforced the screen with boards across the middle of the frame and set up ladders, trellises and all sorts of things to make it impossible for him to squeeze in next to the porch without knocking things down on himself! Hope this works!