Bear awareness and helpful tips
RUTLAND- Forest Service officials in Vermont have had several reports of bear sightings and bears approaching and entering shelters, and some reports of bears aggressively getting into backpacks in an attempt to find food. Reports of human encounters with black bears continue to increase in the Green Mountain National Forest. In recent weeks, numerous incidents of bears looking for food have been reported by visitors. Improperly stored food not only attracts bears to people currently camping at a site, but lets the bear know that it can find food at that campsite in the future.
Too many times, visitors believe they have stored their food safely, but in reality have left it within a bear’s reach. Bears that get too used to people may eventually have to be killed to ensure the public’s safety. It is illegal in the state of Vermont to feed bears. So remember: Always keep a clean camp; don’t leave any food out when not in use; store food in bear-resistant units; keep sleeping areas free of food and odor; don’t sleep in clothes that were worn while handling or cooking fish and game; never bury or burn food waste; if camping in the backcountry, hang a food bag at least 10 feet off the ground and 5 feet out from a tree limb that could support a bear, or better yet pack and use bear resistant containers; place sleeping tents at least 100 yards away from food storage and cooking areas; and if hiking with a dog keep it on a leash or leave it home. People should report bear sightings or damage caused by bears at (802) 828-1000 or (802) 442-5421.