According to the Bear League, 2007 was a record year for bear deaths in the Truckee Tahoe region. A recorded 120 bears were hit by cars or destroyed for their continued annoyance and potential threat to the public.
Wild animals naturally fear people; as long as you keep your distance, they will generally not bother you, unless the animal has become accustomed to human contact. When bears have easy access to human food sources, including trash, it has been observed that their behavior changes. In these cases, bears are no longer cautious and fearful around people, and this may result in property damage and even threaten human safety.
You may request bear-awareness stickers for your dumpsters by calling Nichole Dorr at (530)582 -2909. We recommend you secure dumpsters with a carabineer, so it will allow the garbage company to maintain easy access to the trash.
Facts about Local Bears
Black bears are the only species of bear in California. They range in color from blond to black; brown is the most common color. Black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour, climb trees and swim. Never run from a bear. As winter approaches, bears will forage for food up to 20 hours per day, storing as much fat as possible to hibernate during the winter months. Bears hibernate less if food, such as garbage, is available. Males are much larger than females and can weigh up to 500 pounds; the average male weighs 300 pounds. A typical diet for a wild bear consists of berries, plants, nuts, roots, honey, honeycomb, insects, insect larvae, carrion and small mammals.
There are simple steps that you can follow to protect bears and other wildlife from a potentially deadly encounter. Remember, we must all act responsible in bear country to keep the bears Alive and Wild.
Keep in mind that bears and other animals are attracted to anything edible or smelly. Take precautions by using the following guidelines:
- Utilize public trash receptacles and dumpsters while visiting local parks and recreational facilities. Pay special attention when securing receptacle or dumpster lids.
- Keep bear-proof trash receptacles and dumpsters closed, latched and locked at all times.
- Do not leave trash, groceries or pet food in your car. If you absolutely must leave edible or smelly items in your car, then make sure the items are in airtight containers and locked in your trunk.
- Stow all edible or smelly products, including food, suntan lotion, insect repellent, soap, toothpaste and candles properly. Keep these products inside your home or secured in bear lockers while camping.
- Remember, NEVER keep food in your tent.
- Keep a clean camp. Immediately clean up after meals, and store food and garbage, as outlined above. Keep barbecue grills away from tents.
- If you are backpacking, remember that if you pack it in, then you must pack it out. Remember to be prepared to use a bear-sling to hoist food high up on a tree limb. In alpine conditions, use a bear canister for all food and toiletries
At home or work:
- Do not run. Assert your dominance by standing tall and making loud noises to scare the bear away.
- Never place trash and recycling at your curb prior to your collection day.
- If the property uses a shared dumpster for trash and recycling, or if the property is commercial, make sure to close, latch and lock the dumpster lid. Never leave dumpster lids open and unsecured.
- Periodically disinfect trash containers to remove odors.
- Always remove the key from a bear canister after making sure the container is properly secured.
- Harvest fruit off trees as soon as soon it is ripe, and promptly collect the fruit that falls to the ground.
- Keep bird feeders off decks and inaccessible to bears.
- Keep barbecue grills clean.
- Securely block access to potential hibernation sites, such as crawl spaces under decks and buildings.
- Keep doors and windows closed and locked when you are away from the property.
- Be sure to allow the bear free clearance if it attempts to get away.
- Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.
- Slowly walk away from any bear and make loud noises.
- Although attacks are very rare, if you are attacked, FIGHT BACK AGGRESSIVELY! Do not roll up in a ball and play dead.
In the woods:
- Do not run.
- Make eye contact, but don’t stare.
- Pick up small children and make yourself appear large.
- Stay calm and quiet; back away slowly.