Recent black bear sightings should not cause alarm
In recent days, videos have circulated on social media of black bears roaming in our viewing area both in backyards and along roads.
The appearance of bears and other wildlife is common this time of year.
Black bear sightings and nuisance complaints first increase in April and peak during June and July.
Bears are out of their dens and foraging for food at this time. As they travel for food and mating, you are more likely to encounter one.
Bears are lured by the smell of human food.
"They're looking for easy food. Bears are naturally lazy, so they're wanting the easiest meal. So that's why often times you can see them in a suburban setting or even around a rural house," said David Holt, Wildlife Officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
To prevent bears around your home, you should get rid of any food sources outdoors. Keep pet food inside, don't throw food scraps out, and keep better tabs on your garbage can.
"If you have a garage, it is best to just keep your trash in the garage, and if you don't then there are bear-proof trash containers that can be purchased," Holt recommended.
Bears are crafty animals and can work their way into things.
Bird feeders are another food source that bears enjoy. "A lot of times bears can get more calories just from a bird feeder than they can from a whole day of foraging," explained Holt.
If you see a bear in your yard, they are likely only there for an easy meal.
Take away the incentive for easy food, and the bear will move on.
Typical bears will also leave once you start making a lot of noise.
"Yell at the bear. They are more afraid of you than you are of them, and they will leave," Holt advised.
A bear becomes problematic when it becomes accustomed to humans.
"When we should be contacted about a bear is if the bear has become so acclimated to humans that they no longer see us as a threat. That's when they can be dangerous," warned Holt.
For additional black bear safety tips, visit the southeastern joint effort website here.
For any wild animal that you encounter whether on your property, along the road, or on a hike, leave it alone.
This is especially true for young wildlife.
"Most all the time, infant wildlife are not abandoned, orphaned, or neglected. They've just been simply placed there, so their mother can go out and forage for food," Holt explained.
The mom will return to her young as long as people are not around.
For bears, deer, and any wildlife, you should not feed them food. It is healthier for the animals to find their own food.