Bear activity tapered off for season

Duane Hicks

It appears black bears in the Fort Frances area have had enough to eat and are settling in for their winter-long rest.
Local bylaw enforcement/animal control officer Arlene Byrnes said yesterday that the town has not had any reports of bears since Oct. 4.
She noted a total of 33 black bears were reported in town limits this year, the most busy time being early September when nine bears were reported in the second week of that month.
Of this year’s 33, animal control had to immobilize three bruins and live trap two, said Brynes, adding that, fortunately they didn’t have to dispatch any.
The “high concentration” of bear activity was in the northwest and northeast parts of town, although some were sighted in the central and far west parts of town.
The numbers this year were comparable to last year, when a total of 32 were reported, the last report on Oct. 18, 2009.
Byrnes said this year was about average to below average, adding “33 is not super busy.”
Recent years have seen bear reports here on a downward trend.
For example, 2008 saw 40 bears reported, while 2007 saw 22. This is a drop from 2006, where 77 bears were reported in town, which in turn was down from 105 reports in 2005.
While some of this year’s reports had included evidence of bears getting into people’s garbage and “blue boxes,” Byrnes said that people seem to be getting wiser to what’s attracting the bruins and taking precautions.
“I do believe that education has helped,” she noted.
Tips for residents to avoid attracting bears to their property is to put their garbage and recyclables out on the morning of pick-up day—not the night before or earlier, as well as cleaning up apples and acorns, not leaving pet food outdoors, thoroughly cleaning outdoor grills after use, discontinuing to fill bird feeders for the time being, and ensuring dumpster lids are closed.