Black bears are becoming more common in NC. Here’s how to live with them in peace.

Your probabilities of encountering a bear in North Carolina are as nice as they’ve ever been.

Black bears as soon as have been discovered wherever there have been forests in North Carolina, which is to say practically throughout your complete state. Their numbers started to decline in the early 1900s, due to searching and lack of habitat and sources of meals; by the Seventies bears have been discovered solely in probably the most distant areas of the mountains or in swampy locations on the coastal plain.

Today, bears are discovered in 60% of North Carolina’s land space and sightings in the Piedmont develop into more common yearly. That’s very true in May, June and July, when younger bears strike out on their very own, searching for a brand new house.

Bears have been sighted in locations comparable to North Raleigh and Garner in latest years. In early April, a tow truck driver posted photos of a bear that had been hit by an SUV on the Durham Freeway close to Research Triangle Park. Some bears are fairly comfy in city areas; simply ask residents of Asheville, the place encounters with bears have develop into common.

There are an estimated 20,000 black bears in North Carolina, in accordance to state Wildlife Resources Commission biologist Ashley Hobbs, up from just a few hundred in the Seventies. Of course, there are more people as nicely — more than 10.6 million state residents eventually estimate — so it’s not stunning that individuals and bears are assembly up more typically.

Bear biologists on the Wildlife Resources Commission and its counterparts in different southeastern states have created a website called BearWise to assist folks live responsibly with bears. Here’s some recommendation on peacefully coexisting with the bruins in our midst:

If you’re climbing in the woods, preserve an eye fixed out for bears. If you’re passing by heavy brush, make noise so a bear is aware of you’re coming and received’t get startled. When climbing in a gaggle, stick collectively and preserve children shut.

Keep your canine on a leash. You could have sufficient sense not to startle or run after a bear, however your canine most likely doesn’t. Don’t let your canine choose a combat for you.

Keep your distance. Black bears are usually shy and take a look at to keep away from folks. But they may defend themselves and their cubs for those who get too shut.

If a bear wanders into your yard or campsite, give it room and a route to go away by. Don’t nook it. If you need it to transfer on, make some noise or shout from a secure distance. The bear ought to get the message.

If you encounter a bear in the woods, don’t panic. And don’t run; which will immediate the bear to chase you. Simply stand nonetheless or, if the bear has seen you, transfer away quietly.

If a bear does method, stand your floor. Again, don’t run. Make your self seem large and menacing by lifting your arms and your jacket and shout. (The BearSensible biologists recommend shouting “Hey, bear,” but it surely most likely doesn’t matter what you say, solely that it’s loud and lets the bear know you imply enterprise.)

In the unlikely occasion of a black bear assault, spray the animal with bear spray, if in case you have it, or combat again with no matter you’ve acquired. Do not play lifeless.

Don’t feed bears, deliberately or in any other case. Feeding bears will assist them really feel comfy and convey them again for more. Bears are attracted by meals and what smells like meals, together with rubbish, recycling and compost. Keep rubbish and recycling in cans or containers with safe lids and retailer them inside if potential.

When tenting, don’t retailer meals in your tent. Lock it in your automotive, with the home windows closed, or preserve it in a bear-resistant container or hung in a tree 100 yards from the place you’re sleeping.

Take down chicken feeders and don’t feed pets outdoor when bears are energetic. Bird meals and leftover kibble will entice bears. Birdseed and hummingbird answer in explicit are excessive in energy that bears crave.

Clean and put away your grill. The greasy bits left on a grill and in the drip tray will lure bears. Remove what you may and retailer the grill the place a bear can’t get at it.

For more details about bears and bear security, go to

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and vehicles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and simply plain strolling. Also, hospitals through the coronavirus outbreak. He’s been a reporter or editor for 33 years, together with the final 21 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, [email protected]

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