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Be Bear aware this time of year


The Colville Tribes’ Fish and Wildlife (CTFW) Dept. would like to inform the public that bears are coming out of hibernation early this year due to warmer weather and they are hungry, real hungry. Bears have lost much of their body weight and are looking for anything to eat.

“When they come out of hibernation they are eating anything that’s edible like lots of green foliage,” said Rick Desautel, CTFW game management specialist. “After they get tired of eating salad, they go out to the meadows looking for fawns but they’ll also get into your garbage. If they can smell it, they’ll come find it.”

“There have been a number of sightings around the reservation already,” said Desautel. “People have been calling in and the bears are doing what bears do, they are searching for food. When I get a call and I set a live-trap for them and get one, then I’m in the bear shuttle service and I relocate them miles away.” In 2014, the department received 69 bear complaints, 37 of those bears were trapped and relocated.

Here are some helpful tips to avoid bear and human interaction.

Bears are drawn to the smell of food such as garbage, pet foods, bird feeders, compost piles, fruit trees, berry bushes, livestock feed, dirty barbeque grills, beehives and petroleum products

Keep yards clean

Pick fruit from trees as it ripens; do not leave fruit on the ground

Do not leave pet food outside, especially overnight

Keep outdoor grills clean; when not in use, store grills inside a garage or building

Never store food or garbage outdoors for long periods of time

If a bear doesn’t find food it will move along

Bears are naturally curious and opportunistic

Please do not feed the bears - individuals who are feeding bears create a major problem and may cause harm to the bear and the general public - you will be cited with a fine of $500 (code 4-1-261 harassment of wildlife)

If you encounter a bear:

If a bear approaches, move your family indoors immediately

Try to remain calm, don’t panic

Respect the bear’s space, never approach a bear

If you see a baby bear, don’t try to pet them

Don’t scream or yell as this may provoke a bear

Don’t run as this may trigger a pursuit by a bear

Make yourself as large as possible and speak in a calm voice to the bear and move away giving the bear some space and leave the area

When out camping keep children close by

If you spot a bear in a residential area call Rick Desautel at 509.631.1224

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