The recent Buyer's market and low interest rates have spurred a lot of interest lately in the local housing market. I'm seeing more traffic at open houses, builder's sites and calls are way up lately. Most of this activity is good to see, it shows that many buyers are shaking off the analysis paralysis fostered by the news media.
There are however some less than desirable visitors in some of our local neighborhoods this time of year.
Yes it's bear time again here in Washington! This time of year many juvenile bears are out wandering in search of a new home. Unfortunately that sometimes leads to them taking up residence in your neighborhood. While bears are beautiful creatures to view from afar, they make lousy neighbors!
We just had one shot and killed out on the Key Peninsula yesterday after it attempted to gain entry into a home. Luckily the homeowner was unhurt, but the bear had to be killed as a result of the encounter.
A little closer to home, my neighbor lost two sheep a couple of days ago to a bear and the WDFW is trying to trap the bear as we speak.
It wasn't long ago we had a bear swim from Vashon Island over to the Normandy Park area.
Abundant wildlife is one of the true gifts of living in Washington, but it does come with some responsibility as well. If you live in one of the traditional bear hot spots, Issaquah, Maple Valley, North Bend, Enumclaw, the Kitsap Peninsula or East Pierce County there are some steps you should take to minimize the risk.
1. Don't feed the bears! They look cute and cuddly, but remember a bear is a wild animal and may surprise you by how swift and aggressive they can be with little warning. Keep your garbage cans inside, don't leave pet food outdoors, and if you see a bear in the area, it's a good idea to remove the bird feeders too. They are very opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of an easy food source.
2. Watch your pets! Don't let your dogs run loose. It's common for folks to think their dogs will help keep bears away, but that is not always the case. It's not uncommon at all for large dogs to get into a scrape with a bear and then retreat to the safety of their master's company. Sometimes bringing the angry bear with them unwittingly.
Smaller pets and livestock can be viewed as a relatively easy food source by a hungry bear, keep them inside the barn at night if possible.
3. Don't attempt to interact with the bears! What you perceive as a loving gesture may well be looked at as a threat and dealt with accordingly by a bear.
4. Don't panic! If a bear is spotted in your neighborhood there is no need to form a posse to drive it from your area. Simply pick up the phone and call the WDFW for some help. They are pros and can better evaluate the situation and put some proven measures in place to ensure yours and the Bear's safety.
So if you have an unwelcome guest in your neighborhood call the WDFW Hotline @ 1-800-477-6224