Officials caution: Time to take feeders down

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BENNINGTON -- State wildlife officials are asking people to take down their birdfeeders to avoid attracting bears.

"We are receiving reports of bears getting into bird feeders," said Col. David LeCours, of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. "People can help now by removing any food sources that may tempt the bears. That includes taking down bird feeders and not feeding birds until late October."

Seeds are part of the bears’ natural diet, and when found in high concentrations, such as in a bird feeder, the animals are smart enough to keep returning.

‘Keep bears wild’

"Help keep bears wild," LeCours said. "We care about these bears as much as anyone. Having to destroy one that has become a threat to human safety is not a pleasant experience, and we know that moving them to another location doesn’t change their behavior. They continue to seek food near people because they have learned that it works."

The state would also like to remind people that killing bears over any kind of bait is illegal and carries a fine of up to $1,000.

"Also, don’t leave pet food outside, wash down your barbecues after using them, and secure your garbage containers," Lecours said. "And above all, never purposely leave food out for bears. Feeding bears may seem kind, but it is almost a sure death sentence for them."

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