Bear season starting

Time to put away your bird feeders and secure garbage

It’s important to secure garbage and other bear attractants at this time of year. (file photo)

The bears are slowly waking up.

As the days get warmer and longer in the Bulkley Valley, black bears will start coming out of their dens.

This means it is time to start being bear aware again according to the B.C. Conservation Service.

“A lot of people have had their bird feeders up all winter helping out the birds, as we get to the spring and summer the birds’ natural food source is coming back and they don’t need to rely on the feeders as much,” said Conservation Officer Matthew Corbett.

“Next to garbage, bird feeders are probably our number one attractants for black bears.”

He is also reminding people to keep their garbage secure and barbecues cleaned. Pet food, including chicken and rabbit food, must also be put away.

Last year the conservation office in the Skeena region had a busy and frustrating bear season and Corbett is hoping people do a better job of managing attractants this year.

“It can’t be worse,” he said. “Last year was the year with the highest rate of incidents with black bears that the Smithers area has ever seen.”

Last year also saw an increase in people getting fines for not cleaning up their attractants.

“There will always be bears walking through the community, it is just up to all of us to not give them a reason to hang around,” he added.

It is too early for Corbett to guess if this season will also see a lot of bears like last year.

“Last year we had a good berry crop and so lots of food for bears, so that is a pretty good predictor of cub survival rates but it is probably too early for me to tell.”

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