Black bears are coming out of hibernation; here’s what you need to know

As spring approaches, black bears begin to emerge from their dens. The Appalachia Georgia Friends of the Bears are asking the public to do their part to keep them safe.

The AGFB says it has already received reports of adult male and adolescent black bears roaming in Georgia. They say lone females and mothers with older cubs will soon start coming out and are expected between March and mid-April. Mothers with their babies will follow, coming out from mid-April to early May.

As these bears come out, AGFB asks Georgians to help save a bear’s life by removing attractants from their environment. Attractants such as birdseed, hummingbird feeders, pet food, livestock feed, greasy barbecue grills, smokers, fish cookers, and other wildlife foods are accessible to black bears.

Intentional and unintentional feeding by bears teaches them to approach homes and people for food, which they believe is a recipe for human-bear conflict. Access to waste is credited with about two-thirds of human-bear conflicts. In addition, it destroys the bear’s teeth, its digestive tract and leads to a slow and painful death.

The AGFB is asking Georgians to minimize attractants and the availability of food rewards in yards and neighborhoods for the region’s estimated 3,000 black bear population.

They ask residents to store trash in a sturdy building or place it in an approved bear-proof trash can. They also recommend only putting trash outside on the day of pickup. They say that if waste is stored outside for several days to become infected in the heat, it will lead to a greater scent signature for the bears. The larger the signature, the greater the distance the wind has to travel. You can help reduce this signature by cleaning out your garbage can and rinsing any food and drink residue from the containers.

Appalachia Georgia Friends of the Bears is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce human-bear conflict through proactive outreach programs, educate the public about coexisting with black bears , the use of humane bear deterrents and advocacy. . Visit and for more information on reducing human-bear conflict.

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