Oldest town’s bears are in the air
Apples aren’t the only things in Genoa’s trees as the bears begin their annual effort to stuff themselves silly before it’s time to hibernate.
A small black bear took refuge in a pine tree north of Nevada’s oldest town late last week after trying out the apple crop, which has yet to ripen.
Nevada Department of Wildlife Public Information Officer Ashley Sanchez said this is when bears go into hyperphagia, where they do nothing but eat before their long nap time.
“Now through November they are taking in as many calories as possible, to fatten up before going into hibernation,” Sanchez said. “They take in up to 25,000 calories a day, so that’s why we’re getting the word out for people to secure their trash.”
She said ripening fruit trees have been driving a lot of calls to the state about bears.
“Bear biologists have had an increase in the number of calls in areas along the foothills from Reno down to Topaz,” she said. “Most of the calls are about bears getting into backyard fruit trees. The number of calls has been average for this time of year.”
Sanchez said the state encourages residents in bear country to obtain a bear-resistant container.
Douglas County was the first in Nevada to extend its bear ordinance out of the Tahoe Basin during the great bear invasion of 2007.
Barring a bear-proof can, Sanchez suggested residents keep their trash in until pickup day.
“People also need to keep their doors locked,” she said. “Bears have a very strong sense of smell and now food is their No. 1 goal. When they find food, they’ll keep coming back.”
With the big apple crop in the Valley, bears will also be raiding fruit trees.
“Pick your fruit and clean it off the ground,” she said. “We prefer if people clean up their apples because it’s a public safety issue.”
For ideas about how to reduce human interactions with bears, Sanchez suggested residents visit the http://www.ndow.org/Nevada_Wildlife/Bear_Logic/ web site maintained by the state.
The site includes a list of bear can suppliers.
Tips from the state:
■ Use bear resistant containers and place them outside at least 25 feet from the house so bears do not learn to associate the smells and food rewards with your home.
■ Use removable bird feeders (including humming bird feeders) for temporary placement, or better yet, scatter bird seed on the ground, not in a container or in a pile. This way, bears and other animals like deer won’t be able to easily get it.
■ Keep pet food cleaned up or indoors. Place horse grain and chicken feed inside lockable metal containers and keep them outside so bears do not break into your shed or barn.
■ Use electric fencing to keep bears out of gardens and orchards. Hanging strips of tin foil on the wire and smearing it with peanut butter helps to educate the bear. You should also remove any fruit as soon as it ripens.