Bears are particularly busy these days as they prepare themselves for hibernation. Thus, their search for food might bring them closer to humans in North Carolina.

In fall, bears tend to eat more than their usual portions to fatten up for winter, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said in a news release last week.

North Carolina Warning: Bear Activity on Rise as they Prepare for Hibernation
(Photo: Pixabay)
Bears are particularly busy these days as they prepare themselves for hibernation. Thus, their search for food might bring them closer to humans in North Carolina.

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Bears in North Carolina

North Carolina has one species of bear: the Black bear. These bears thrive in the eastern and western parts of the state and often live in swamps or forest areas.

The adult females weigh 100 to 300 pounds, while males can weigh up to 700 pounds or more. During the fall season, bears resort to hyperphagia or eating about 10 times more calories than they can eat in spring and summer to catch up on their weight to prepare for hibernation in the winter.

The North Carolina Wildlife Authorities also warned that in order to find those extra food sources, bears would venture outside their normal ranges thus, they may come near residential homes, campgrounds, trails, and even attempt to cross busy highways in search for an extra food source.

They hide in their dens to hibernate between "late October and mid-January, and emerge in March or early April, depending on the weather and availability of food, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission said.

As they emerge from their deep sleep, citizens are advised to take precautions again as black bears wander to search for their mate in the late spring. While searching for partners, they may be attracted to the food in the residential areas, the US Fish and Wildlife service warn.

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How to Stay Safe From Bears

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission provides some advice on how to stay safe:

  •  Bears are attracted to garbage. It is therefore best to secure trash inside a building, or under a bear-proof lock.
  •  Install electric fences for gardens, take down bird feeders, bring pet food indoors, and clean outdoor grills to reduce chances of encountering bears
  •  Avoid any contact. Slowly leave the area if you happen to see a bear.
  •  Crowds of people unnerve a bear, thus it acts defensively. Do not try to feed it or chase it off. Slowly move away from it instead.

What to Do When You Encounter a Bear?

  •  Do not run
  •  Avoid direct contact
  •  Once a bear notices you and is paying attention, remain still, stand your ground and identify yourself as human by waving your arms slowly and talking calmly so the bear knows that you are human and not a prey animal.
  •  Make yourselves look as large as possible but moving to higher ground or raising your arms
  •  Stay calm and remember that most bears do not attack, but they just want to be left alone. In some instances, bears may bluff by charging and then turning away at the last second or act defensively. Keep talking to the bear in calm and low tones as it will help you stay calmer, and it would also not threaten the bear. Never imitate the bear sounds or scream as it may trigger an attack.
  •  Immediately pick up small children
  •  Hike and travel in groups
  •  If you are attacked by a brown or grizzly bear, leave your pack and play dead. Lay flat on your stomach and keep your hands clasp behind your neck. Spread your leg to make it difficult for the bear to turn you over. Remain still until the bear leaves. If the attack persists, however, fight back vigorously.
  • In places like North Carolina, bear conflicts in the backyard heighten during hyperphagia, as bears prepare themselves for hibernation. Thus, it is important to secure sources of food to avoid these encounters.

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