The mild winter and quick spring have brought black bears out of hibernation early this year.

MNRF regional outreach specialist Karen Passmore says that provides more time for the always-hungry bears to forage for food.

“Green-up is also happening very quickly,” she observes. “Grasses are appearing and leaves or catkins are starting to flush and those are very good spring bear foods.”

Catkins.
(flickr.com)

Unless we get frost or a lot of rain, Passmore says there’s less chance of bears wandering into town looking for something to eat.  However, the best advice is to always keep garbage indoors and barbecue grills clean, if you leave them outside.

If the beautiful weekend weather we’re expecting takes you into the bush, you might meet a bear.

If the beautiful weekend weather we’re expecting takes you into the bush, Passmore advises you to have a bell, a whistle or some kind of noisemaker to scare bears away.  If you do encounter one, back away while making a lot of noise and making yourself appear bigger.

Between the time a bear comes out of hibernation and the time it goes back into it in the fall, it’s all about food.  An average bear needs about 20,000 calories a day.

“To put that into perspective,” Passmore offers, “that’s equal to about 78 pounds of blueberries or one seven-pound bird feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds.”