An animal that has been making headlines in recent times is the bear. Whether it is a lack of natural food sources or humans encroaching upon their habitat, run-ins with bears are becoming more frequent. It isn't even a case of a hiker stumbling upon a bear while hiking in the woods that is the sole reason for present day bear worries. Now the bears are instead coming to us and invading our homes.
Several recent headlines have demonstrated the drive and desire that bears have when it comes to finding tasty morsels. While a bear at your door is bad enough, what does this mean for your survival stockpile? Although you may think canned goods are safe from the noses of bears, think again. A bear's sense of smell is far greater than that of a human and smelling items sealed in cans or any other type of packaging is not a problem for them. Neither are many of the doors and windows we rely on to keep bears out of our homes as many Florida residents have been finding out.
As preppers who stockpile food items we intend to use for long term survival, it is necessary for our own survival that we keep such supplies safe from wild animals that want to pay us a visit. This is even more important when it comes to remote locations that you cannot monitor regularly and may find raided when the time comes that you need those supplies most. Though the behavior of a hungry bear can be hard to predict, let alone control, there are some steps you can take to discourage bears from making your house their home.
Photo: Caters News
Though it should go without saying, don't feed bears, not even once and also not by accident. You may not deliberately intend to feed bears, but there are many ways you can go about doing so regardless of your intentions. Should you have outdoor pets such as a cat or dog, bring them inside to eat. If you must feed pets outside, pick up any uneaten food immediately after mealtimes so it is not discovered by bears in search of an easy meal. Thoroughly clean BBQ grills after use so no traces of food or food odors remain. Do not leave trash outside; store it in bear proof trash cans instead. Also avoid leaving food in your car whether it is a granola bar you were saving for a rainy day or a pack of gum.
Once you've removed easy access to food, it is important to fortify your dwelling against bear invasion. Some of the more obvious ways to do this include closing all doors and windows. Sure, the weather is nice this time of year and you might enjoy a breeze through open windows, but close them before the sun sets, especially those near to ground level. Doors should consist of heavy wood with deadbolts and windows with double panes are ideal. Crawl spaces should be blocked off as well. To help eradicate food odors from your home, apply Original Scent Pine-Sol on window and door frames. Repeating the application on a regular basis will help overpower the smell of food and discourage bears.
If you do encounter a bear it is important that you make the experience a memorable one for him or her so the animal leaves and does not return. This means asserting your dominance in such a manner that the bear wishes to flee from your presence. Using an air horn is one way to send bears on their way. When you are not home, leave lights on in and around your home and play TVs or radios as additional deterrent.
The thing to remember is that there are three kinds of bears. The first is a habituated bear which accepts the presence of people and ignores them. This bear is on the way to becoming a food conditioned bear because being present around people will soon lead to the animal equating people with food. An important thing to remember is that bears have proven to remember where they find food and will return to that same location in search of food for quite some time, which means your home may be visited time and time again by a bear that found a tasty snack just one single time. In order to solve such a problem, you need to act quickly to turn habituated and food conditioned bears into aversively conditioned bears. This is done by essential retraining bears to divert away from people and back into the wild to live, such as by blasts from an air horn or other methods that cause bears to prefer avoiding people.
If you live in bear country, the possibility of a bear break-in is a real threat. Since hunters are legally allowed to use high calorie, sweet human foods such as donuts for bear bait in many states, a nuisance is often created as bears are conditioned to seek such foods in the homes of residents. With winter right around the corner, bears are beefing up for hibernation, making the threat of a bear home invasion quite possible. Therefore the sooner you take precautions to safeguard your home against unwanted visitors, the better off and more secure your precious survival stockpile will be.
Are bears a problem in your neck of the woods? How do you live safely and comfortably alongside determined and persistent wildlife? Let us know in the comments.