Wildlife officials are urging Jackson Hole residents to beware of increased bear activity in their area. Bears' appetites increase during the fall so that they can store up fat for their long winter hibernation, where they can go as long as five months without eating. The summer berries are just about gone, leaving the bears to seek out their next food source: whitebark pine nuts. Since the whitebark pine nut crop was only fair this year, Jackson Hole bears are being forced to search out alternative food sources. What does this mean for you? If you live near the typical travel corridors of bears (ie. rivers and streams), you may have a bear come digging through your trash to find sustenance. State wildlife officials offer these suggestions to avoid any possible conflict with a hungry bear:
1. Store your garbage or livestock feed in a bear-resistant container. If you don't have one, a reinforced building or shed should do the job.
2. Take down bird feeders from April-October, when bears are the most active.
3. Feed your pets indoor and keep all pet food inside.
4. If you have fruit trees, pick the fruit as soon as it ripens. Make sure any fruit that has fallen to the ground gets picked up immediately.
5. Use electric fencing to protect your garden, beehive or compost pile.
6. Clean your barbeque thoroughly. Store in a secured building, if possible.
Bears are a normal sight in the Jackson Hole area this time of year. Following these tips will help you stay bear aware and avoid any problems with these beautiful creatures.