Important tips for living in bear country

It's not summertime in Mountain Village without hungry bears trying to beef up for hibernation. Living in the mountains means taking some extra precautions to prevent encounters with bears.

Most black bear encounters happen in the early morning or evening hours between the months of March and November when bears are actively searching for food. To live and play in bear country, it’s a must to be aware of a bear’s nature and habits. Most conflicts between bears and people are linked to careless handling of food and garbage. In Mountain Village, it is required that all trash containers and enclosures are wildlife-resistant and kept locked at all times when placed outside for collection.

​Black bears are not naturally aggressive, but they are strong, powerful animals. Avoid surprising a bear: Be alert at all times, and leave your headphones at home. Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk with a headlamp or flashlight.

If you encounter a bear, stand still and stay calm and let the bear identify you and leave. Talk in a normal tone of voice and be sure the bear has an escape route.

A bear standing up is just trying to identify what you are by getting a better look and smell.

Wave your arms slowly overhead and talk calmly. If the bear huffs, pops it jaws or stomps a paw, it wants you to give it space.

Tips To Remember When Living In Bear Country

  1. Bag your trash tightly to contain odors and place bags inside your garage or storage area until day of pickup. Do not put your trash and recycle containers out the night before (or days before pickup). Pick up any loose or spilled garbage.
  2. Ensure that your trash containers are locked and wildlife-resistant. If you do not have a wildlife-resistant container contact your trash service provider immediately for replacement.
  3. Always keep your trash bins clean (hot water and a bleach solution).
  4. Fruit, melon rinds or other food items in compost piles may attract black bears, so don’t add these and other pungent scraps to the pile. Adding lime will help promote decomposition and reduce odor.
  5. Keep your BBQ grill free of food and grease to the extent possible.
  6. Lock your car, home windows and doors. Also be sure to low lower or ground level windows.
  7. Never leave human, livestock or pet food, including bird feeders, outside or in a vehicle.

For information on what to do if you encounter a bear, we encourage you to check out the Division of Wildlife’s website and read these brochures: Living with Bears and Bearproofing Your Home.