ARCADIA, Calif.; Sept. 26, 2017 – For Immediate Release – The U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remind citizens visiting or living in the high country and foothills that fall is the time of year for increased bear foraging activity and more human and bear encounters are possible.
California black bears are typically active and foraging between April and mid-fall, but in autumn, black bears experience changes in metabolism that drive the need to consume as many rich calories as possible. This metabolic spike is an important signal to the bear to bulk up and gain the fat that will sustain the animal through hibernation and periods of lean food sources. Scientists estimate that black bears may forage as many as 20 hours a day at this time.
Residents and visitors to bear country should act responsibly and be mindful of their safety while in bear habitat. Camping season is ending in many areas, but with the cooler temperatures, fall hiking is very popular in the mountains and foothills and visitors often flock to salmon spawning sites in hopes of getting a glimpse of a bear. Wildlife experts offer these important tips:
- Bears have a sense of smell seven times stronger than a bloodhound’s and eyesight as good as a human’s
- Remove fallen fruit from the ground promptly
- Use bear-resistant garbage cans and wait to set trash out until the day of pickup
- Any scent, especially foods like fish or other meats, may attract a bear to your campsite
- Do not leave food or other scented items in your car
- Be alert on trails (avoid wearing headphones)
- Keep a respectful and safe distance from bears at all times
- Do not attempt to take “selfies” with bears or other wildlife
- Never feed a bear – it is unlawful and could bring a hefty fine