Spring is here and bears are on the move

MARQUETTE — Spring is here, and just like humans shaking off cabin fever, bears are emerging from their dens.

In the spring, bears are emerging from hibernation. While they asleep, bears can lose up to thirty percent of their weight, so they’re usually searching for food.

“The risk involved is food rewards that people put out, not intentionally for bears, but if you’re putting out bird feeders and that sort of thing. Bird seed is very high in fat and there’s not a lot of natural food available right now so bears are attracted to those sites. So we suggest that people remove those food sources, remove bird feeders till the bears have moved on,” said Kevin Swanson, a Biologist with the Bear and Wolf Program.

Bears often find natural food sources in wetlands, but they’re attracted to things around your house as well. Besides bird seed, bears will eat dog food, garbage, and even lick your grill clean.

“Bears have a very long term memory, so as far as natural foods go, if you have, say an oak ridge somewhere that’s a prolific producer of acorns, those bears will come back to that same oak ridge each and every year to check if there’s acorns there. So they have a long term memory and that would correlate to artificially fed bears to with bird seed. If you don’t take it down, if you leave bird seed up every year they will, they could come back to that source,” added Swanson.

Swanson suggests you put your trash in your garage and to keep it there till pick up time. Keep your birdseed inside too, along with your grill. Bears are active all summer, but its usually safer to put these things back outside sometime in May.