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Bear facts

June 24, 1998

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources offers the following tips for minimizing potential bear problems:




HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Do not take garbage outside until the morning of trash collection. On the day of collection, pour ammonia on top of trash cans to discourage bears.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Remove birdfeeders and hummingbird feeders at night. Hungry bears will not only eat the contents, they will destroy the feeder in the process.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Do not leave food outside for pets.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Keep barbecue grills and picnic tables clean. Wash trash cans regularly and use lime to diminish odors.

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When camping:




HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Move to another campsite if fresh bear signs are present.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Use canned and dried food to cut odors. Use air-tight containers. Store food in a vehicle or a building. Never keep food in your tent.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Burn waste paper in a campfire. Do not burn or bury food scraps.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Remove garbage from your campsite every evening.

To deter a persistent bear:




HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Fill an empty balloon with ammonia, cover it with molasses, and hang the balloon from a tree. Attracted by the molasses, the bear will try to remove the balloon, only to end up covered in ammonia. While it discourages bears, this method has no long-term effects.

Encountering a black bear:




HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Do not panic. Most bears are afraid of people and will leave when they see one.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> If the bear woofs, snaps its jaws, slaps the ground or bluff charges, you are too close. Back away slowly, go inside and wait for it to leave.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Make loud noises or throw something to scare it away.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Always leave the bear an escape route.

- Sheila Hotchkin




related story: Some visitors proving hard to bear

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