Debbie Read, the Community Coordinator at Wild Wise Sooke, send us this following article on bear-proofing your yard for autumn in Sooke. Yes indeed, it’s that time again! The bottom of the article includes additional resources.
It’s that time of year, where bear attractants are in abundance
As August moves into September, it is time to start thinking about your fruit trees.
The berries are almost finished for the year and bears begin to look for other food sources. The responsibility to manage fruit trees and wildlife sustainability falls to us.
Fruit trees attract bears to your yard. This can also result in bears obtaining other human foods such as garbage, pet food, compost, or birdseed.
Vegetable gardens may become an attractant if a bear has already gained other food rewards on your property.
Denial does not help
Many of us remain skeptical as to our responsibility in attracting bears. Even after we have seen the bear in our yard, we often continue to deny our personal responsibility. By the time we recognize our mistakes, it is often too late for the bear.
Wild Wise Sooke has been on a mission to connect Sooke residents, to ensure we do not have excessive unpicked fruit in the community. We see that some people plant fruit trees for the beauty of the blossoms in the spring, others want to eat the sweet fruit in the fall.
“We don’t want to allow windfall to accumulate on the ground,” says Debbie Read, the Wild Wise Sooke Community Coordinator. “We’ve been connecting people who don’t want the fruit with those who want it.”
As apples, plums and other fruit bearing trees begin to ripen, if not managed correctly, they can potentially become a food choice for hungry bears. Fruit can attract bears to our backyards, which can increase the potential for bear habituation and human-bear conflicts.
Community fruit-sharing option
If you want fruit and are willing to pick it, contact us. We can connect you to fruit trees that others do not want or cannot pick.
For those that have fruit trees, and you do not want it or can not pick the fruit, contact us, for pickers, who will pick it and take it away and use the fruit. Fruit tree owners are now able to manage the attraction, and the bear is not encouraged to come to your yard. This is a positive solution and a “win win” for everyone. We have seen very positive results. Contact us.
Calls to Conservation Officer Services are down this year
“This summer, phone calls to the Conservation Officer Service regarding conflicts with bears have been fewer this year than last year,” says Debbie Read of Wild Wise Sooke.
Sooke is making some positive changes and efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflicts by managing their attractants, especially garbage. We have seen fewer bears in Sooke this summer, fewer conflicts and less garbage left out. It is a positive change. As we move into fall, Wild Wise Sooke will help to make fruit trees less of an attraction to bears.
It’s the people-problem that results in the bear-problem
Experts agree that the careful management of bear attractants is the first and most important step in controlling “bear problems.” In fact, the term should be “people problems,” not “bear problems,” as bears are motivated by hunger, not malice. The problem is ours.
To ensure bears don’t move into your neighbourhood, pick fruit and allow it to ripen indoors or pick daily as it ripens. Do not allow windfall to accumulate on the ground.
If you do not want the fruit, contact us, to ensure that bears do not become human food conditioned and/or habituated due to your carelessness. This will help reduce safety concerns surrounding bear encounters and the unnecessary destruction of bears.
BE BEAR WISE
To connect or For more information contact
Resources: Past wildlife articles on SPN
- Wild Wise Sooke: Bears out in Sooke, full force! June 5, 2019
- Bear Deterrents Workshop for Local Farmers: Learn tools to protect your farm and produce and minimize negative interactions with bears September 1, 2018
- Be Bear Wise: Wild Wise Sooke suggests spring cleaning, minimize attractants March 18, 2016
- Cougar spotted in East Sooke February 1, 2016
- A Bear’s Bill of Rights, from Wild Wise Sooke October 24, 2015
- Cormorants in Sooke: Have you seen them? Here’s where to look October 13, 2015
- Another bear killed in Sooke October 7, 2015
- What a Sooke bear in its natural habitat looks like October 6, 2015
- From SD62: Bear & Wildlife Safety Reminder – for you and your kids September 30, 2015
- VIDEO: Globe and Mail video on Bears in Sooke September 28, 2015
- Wildlife Alert Reporting Program