Be bear aware in Southcentral Alaska

Bears may be active any month of the year, particularly if they have access to food, and that, along with relatively mild weather so far this year in Southcentral Alaska has state wildlife officials warning the public to be bear aware.

Minimizing attractants, including pet and livestock food, and trash, will reduce the likelihood of potentially dangerous encounters, loss of personal property and the unnecessary killing of bears, say state wildlife biologists. Store these items in a garage, sturdy shed or in bear-resistant containers.

Owners of chickens, goats and other small livestock should erect electric fences to discourage raids by bears.

More information on electric fences may be found online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livingwithbears.bearfences

Brown bears can be particularly defensive of food sources, creating hazards in populated areas. Incidents of bears frequenting neighborhoods or other populated areas, getting into trash, showing aggression, or related concerns should be reported to the Department of Fish and Game. If the situation poses an immediate public safety concern, contact state troopers or local law enforcement.

Since bears can be encountered anywhere, hikers, runners, dog walkers, hunters and anglers should travel in groups, make noise, avoid likely bear areas after dark, and carry pepper spray or an appropriate firearm for defense.

More information is online at 

www.alaskabears.alaska.gov