Jaybeau Jones

Jaybeau Jones

I have lived here mostly all of my life. Yet, my sightings of black bears in Massachusetts over the last five years have gone from ZERO to two. We have all seen those wild pictures on our social media. Bears in the garbage, bears in a backyard.

The most famous recent headline we all saw: Maine woman punches bear.

When she heard a noise in her backyard, she was horrified to see a bear chasing her dog! The brave doggy mommy reacted fast and got in the middle of her dog and the bear, and stopped the big boy by punching him. The brave woman was injured, but she is ok as is her dog. It’s not often we see stories like that. But we are seeing more and more increases of black bear sightings in our state.

Can We Get Help?

The Mass.Gov website is a great resource of information on how the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is dealing with this growing issue:

Though Massachusetts is the third most densely-populated state in the country, black bears have been increasing in numbers and distribution since the 1970s. The statewide population of bears is estimated to be over 4,500 animals and is growing and expanding eastward. 

Actual Sightings

Living in Metro West, we have had two instances of seeing TWO baby bears, and a grown mother RIGHT walking through our yard and crossing the street. The babies made a crying noise, and the mother was not far behind them, making sure they crossed safely. It was the show of show for our cats. Another time, on a back road wooded area, we saw a similar site. There were two baby bears, and mom, making sure they crossed safely. We never felt any danger. It truly is sight to see.

Mass.gov on shares some very helpful tips on how to prepare our yards to avoid any contact with the bears and keep the peace!

So, let’s take a wildlife walk on how to prepare and hopefully avoid the increasing sightings of black bears in Massachusetts

  • Bear Map

    Map showing black bear range in Massachusetts

    Image from mass.gov

  • Where Are They?

    Prints

    Stock Photo/Getty

    According to Mass.gov, the bears breed mostly in Metro West, and the Berkshires. Some are living along 495. But some young males wander east of 495.

  • Description

    Black Bear

    Stock Photo/Getty

    According to Mass.Gov:

    Black male bears range around 600 pounds! Ok, that’s ALOT bigger than me! You don’t want to come face to face with big Daddy!

  • Life History

    Grizzly

    Stock Photo/Getty

    Mass.gov says these guys are like Jedi Knights, with extraordinary sight, and sense of smell. They are experts at locating food. The sense danger and can react fast. They are also excellent climbers. They den in mid November and December, exit in March. A litter of two or three cubs are born in January and remain with mom for 17 months! 

  • Food, Habits

    Standing Bear!

    Stock Photo/Getty

    My wife loves feeding the birds. We have a couple bird feeders in the backyard. I am not worried about a bear party, yet. We live not far from a busy road, so I don’t believe that they will visit us. But will they as time moves on? Bears will eat vegetation and meat, if they find it.

    Source: Mass.gov

  • Remove Bird Feeders

    Cute Bear

    Stock Photo/Getty

    If you must put out bird feeders, best time is when the bears den, in December to February. Remove them at the first sign of bears.

  • Secure Trash

    Bear!

    Stock Photo/Getty

    This is no brainer.

    Put out trash in morning instead of overnight. Also, reduce odors by sprinkling ammonia. A trash barrel with a good tight lid will also help, maybe. It’s a 600 pound bear.

  • What If I See A Bear In My Yard?

    Black Bears In Massachusetts On The Rise

    Stock Photo/Getty

    Make lots of noise, from inside, is my advice. Bears usually don’t like loud noises, and should leave. But if they keep coming back, it’s for a reason. They have extraordinary memories when it comes to food. After they leave, check for unknown food source.

  • Did You See That? What If We See One Hiking?

    Bear!

    Stock Photo/Getty

    What if we see a bear hiking? That’s why I don’t hike. But I do love the woods. Bears are wary of people. Your normal walking or talking noise while hiking will actually alert them and they will leave before you even know they are there. If a bear spots you, they need to know that you are not an animal. So once they identify your scent, they will leave the area. Making soft sounds like talking will help them ID you, while you slowly back away. Sudden loud or abrupt movement is not a good idea. Don’t intrude near their cubs. A close pic is not that important! Keep dogs leashed and distant.

    More tips from mass.gov

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