Living with Black Bears

Black Bears in Massachusetts

There was a black bear sighting on Huntsbridge Road in North Attleboro on 6/7/18 at night. Please read the information below.

 Spring is here, and black bears have emerged from their winter dens and are active and seeking food.

There have been recent reports of bear sightings from Rte 495 to the Berkshires.

What you can do?

If you have chickens or livestock make sure they are properly secured and that your enclosure is reinforced with electric fencing. Electric fencing is the only real deterrent to hungry black bears that may be in the area.

Remove all bird feeders and sources of indirect feeding. Make sure all trash containers are covered. The only way to prevent bear visits and minimize potential conflicts is to remove all food and properly secure animals.

Please watch MassWildlife’s YouTube video “Don’t Feed Bears, Keep Them Wild!” and find more bear information at www.mass.gov/bears.
 
In most cases a bear is simply seeking the most accessible and nutritious food source, which is often bird seed, suet, garbage, compost, or unsecured chickens, rabbits, or livestock. If bears are allowed to feed at bird feeders, raid chicken coops, rabbit hutches, beehives, rummage through trash and compost, or attack livestock they will repeat this behavior because it worked to get them the food and nourishment they needed. Help keep bears out of trouble by taking preventative and responsible actions.

If you see a bear what should you do?

Leave the bear alone and call animal control 508-699-0128 or the non-emergency police number 508-695-1212 if after hours.

Do not try to track the bear or follow them. Pursuit stresses the animal and risks it bolting into traffic or bystanders. They will often climb a tree if they feel uncomfortable. Leave the bear alone and when all is quiet it will come down and find its way back to a more suitable area if given the chance.

You can also Contact MassWildlife. During business hours contact your local MassWildlife District Office or the MassWildlife Field Headquarters at (508) 389-6359 to report sightings and get advice. If you need advice before/after business hours, on weekends, or holidays, contact the Environmental Police Radio Room at 1-800-632-8075.

 Most important take-a-way

Irresponsible human behavior puts bears at risk! Make sure to remove or secure all food sources including bird feeders, trash, open compost bins or dumpsters, pet food, and grain. Poultry owners, rabbit owners, and beekeepers should invest in electric fencing to protect their coops, hutches, and hives. Do not provide a predictable and readily available source of food as described above.

 Massachusetts General Law allows bears to be destroyed by property owners if bears are discovered raiding hives, chicken coops, rabbit hutches, or attacking livestock or pets. Help protect bears by taking steps to secure all food sources.

Visit bear web pages at www.mass.gov/bears or contact MassWildlife’s Field Headquarters at (508) 389-6359 for assistance with electric fencing, securing livestock or other information. 
 

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