The Bear Essentials
By Ardath Piston
September 09, 2007
A few thoughts on the many letters I have read concerning bears:
I agree 100% that the City and Borough need to follow Juneau's
lead and fine people if their garbage is not properly confined.
Bears are creatures of opportunity. A stinky garbage can is as
good as a drive through fast food joint.
Ammonia has worked for me when applied full strength with a squirt
bottle. Spray the entire can on a regular basis especially after
Clean the inside of your cans weekly. Remember that mixing bleach
and ammonia is toxic, so only use one or the other.
A bungee cord seems to be effective for some people, but honestly,
if a 300 + lb bear wants in a can, a bungee cord is not going
to stop it. Tie downs are far more effective because you can
cinch them down tight.
Garbage cans need to be kept in a secure shed or garage until
garbage pick-up day. I often see cans at the curb all week long.
All meat, bones, and vegetable matter should be kept in a freezer
until garbage pick up day.
Pet food and bird feeders also attract bears.
Everyone in the neighborhood needs to follow proper garbage storage
guidelines. One person who is lax can ruin it for everyone.
Once a bear learns that is can get a free meal at a specific
home, they will return. Is that the bears fault? No, it is the
fault of the person who is irresponsible with their garbage.
Look around your neighborhood. Is there trash in the street?
Is there garbage in the woods? Is your neighbor notorious for
leaving their garbage out? Pick it up...even if it is not your
garbage, it is adding to the problem.
If you can't fit all of your garbage in one can, don't over stuff
the can, take it to the dump.
If you have some really stinky garbage (fish carcasses, deer
carcasses) don't put them in your can, take them to the dump.
You are already being charged a land fill fee on your utility
bill, it won't cost you any extra money.
It is unfair to assume that someone else (Fish and Game, State
Troopers, City Police) should be called in to eradicate bears
because people are too lazy to take responsibility for their
There will always be people who look to others to solve their
problems; don't be one of those people. Talk to your neighbors,
form a neighborhood group that can offer help, information, or
regular garbage patrol. As the saying goes, "Be part of
the solution, not the problem".
Received September 08, 2007
- Published September 09, 2007
About: "15 year resident
of Ketchikan, I have worked in remote field camps near the Unuk
and Chickamin rivers as well as Hyder just to name a few. I frequently
camp on our remote property on Gravina. I live north of town
and have not had a bear problem in years. "
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