Sightings confirm, it's the season of the bear

Courtesy photo. Black bears are native to New Hampshire and have been spotted recently in Pelham and elsewhere. They are attracted to trash, bird feeders and chickens, among other things.

PELHAM — Pelham's Animal Control Officer Allison Caprigno says there have been multiple bear sightings locally in recent weeks.

And, she said, it's important that people know it's baby bear season and everyone should take precautions such as securely storing trash and putting away bird feeders so as to not attract bears to residential areas.

Kai Cheung said he spotted a baby black bear in his Pelham front yard via his home security video system earlier this month. The mom was in their backyard in the woods, he added. 

Bear sightings in Southern New Hampshire are rarer than in the northern part of the state. But as evidenced locally, they happen, said Andrew Timmins, the state's bear biologist.

He reiterated Caprigno's advice about bringing bird feeders inside and securing trash barrels.

“There’s no way to feed birds this time of year in this area without attracting bears," Timmins said. “When it comes to trash you have to control the odor and put it in an area bears can’t access."

He suggested people bag their trash and put it in airtight rubber containers to keep the smell from attracting bears.

It's a bad idea to leave garbage cans in easily accessible areas, like in front yards, he said. His suggestion is to store trash in the garage or some other spot inside.

Also, bears are attracted to chicken coops, Timmins said, as grain and chickens are both sources of food.

This year there have been a few instances in which bears have had to be killed in the state because they had eaten free-range chicken, Timmins said. He explained that bears, like other wildlife, become more problematic when they get too comfortable around humans and eat their food. 

The best way to safely protect chickens from bears and other wildlife is to install electric fencing, he said. 

 “If you live in New Hampshire you have to assume you live in bear country and have to take precautions," Timmins said.

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