Town and Village

Fish & Wildlife Department offers tips on coexistence with bears

WATERBURY — The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says it has begun to receive reports of bears coming out of their dens as the weather warms, and that now is the time to take these proactive steps to help prevent bears from looking for food in your yards and neighborhoods:

– Take down your birdfeeder. Between late March and December, birdfeeders should not be used. You can attract birds by planting bird-friendly native plants instead. Check out Audubon's Native Plants for Birds Program at

– Make your garbage inaccessible. Store garbage in a secure structure and a bear-proof container.

– Demand bear-proof dumpsters on behalf of your community. Your garbage hauler should be able to provide these.

– Dispose of garbage frequently. If you have curbside services, wait until the morning of pickup to put your garbage out.

– Follow steps for composting. Compost needs to be three parts brown materials to one part kitchen scraps, turned frequently, and kept in a sturdy tumbler or bin.

– Use electric fencing to keep chickens and bees safe. Fences need to be 4,000–6,000 volts, tested regularly and baited.

– Clean your grill after every use. For added effectiveness, keep your grill in a secure outbuilding between uses after cleaning.

– Make bears feel uncomfortable if they are in your yard. Yell, bang pots and pans, or use other noise devices from inside your home. Never shoot a bear to scare it. Even BBs can seriously injure bears.

– Report your bear encounters to Vermont Fish & Wildlife. These reports allow them to help prevent future bear incidents as well as provide information to help all Vermonters better coexist with bears. File a report at

Following these steps can save bears' lives, and help protect you, your neighbors, and your property. If you have questions, contact the Fish & Wildlife department at 802-828-1000, or [email protected].

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates