Black Bear photo posted with permission from BearWise®.

Bears’ internal alarm clocks start ringing in March, with many adult male bears emerging from their dens during the month. Next to wake up will be juveniles of both sexes, then female bears with yearlings and solitary females. Mother bears with newborn cubs are the last to poke their noses out into the world. After not eating or drinking for several months, it’s time for water, stretching and wandering around. Soon after getting their bearings, bears start looking for food.



Now is a great time to download the free Be BearWise At-Home Checklist

( and make sure there is nothing that will attract bears to your home or property. A few hours of prevention now can save you a lot of time and trouble later.


  • Walk around your yard and near your home to see if there’s anything “interesting”
  • Many meals’ worth of nutrients can be found in the average family’s trash. Is your trash safely stowed in a bear-resistant container or stored inside a bear-resistant locked building until the morning of pick up?
  • Do you live at a condominium or apartment complex? If so, check those trash and recycling dumpsters to make sure they are locked and secured. Have you seen the metal-lidded dumpsters around The Valley? They are great for keeping bears out. Ask you association or landlord to upgrade to metal-lidded dumpsters if your complex does not have them yet.
  • Bird feeders full of nutritious birdseed are one of the top things that attract bears to homes. Don’t take any chances. Bring your bird feeders in at night. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department recommends bringing in birdfeeders on April 1 or when bears are active.
  • Don’t leave food, pet food, or anything else with an odor on your screened-in porch or deck overnight or inside a vehicle parked outside.
  • Pet food is loaded with calories. Feed pets indoors. Or if you must feed pets outside, feed in single portions, remove food dishes as soon as pets have eaten and clean up any mess.
  • Chickens, bees and small livestock can be very tempting to a hungry bear. Protect your animals in a bear-resistant building, enclosure or behind an electric fence.

Thanks for helping keep bears out in the wild and away from homes and neighborhoods.

The MRV Bear Initiative is a volunteer working group represented by conservation organizations in Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield and Warren, Friends of the Mad River, Stark Mountain Foundation, and Sugarbush Resort. The goal is to collectively improve understanding of and how to coexist with calorie-seeking, black bear neighbors. Check out the Initiative’s resource pages at and BearWise at

Article and photo posted by the MRV Bear Initiative with permission from BearWise®.