The snow is obviously on its way and the bears know it. The Truckee Tahoe area has seen signs of den building already and this will increase as the weather turns colder. Residents and caretakers should watch for branches mysteriously torn from the lower parts of trees, pine needles gathered up and hauled away, and any opening under the house that shows signs of activity. Bears are very comfortable denning under homes and cabins, especially if no one lives there. The problem with this behavior is two-fold; it allows a bear to live too close to “human territory,” and oftentimes bears will damage heat vents and plumbing lines under the house when they build their nest. Each winter, due to open or improperly secured crawl space accesses, dozens of bears den up under homes in our area. Sometimes the bears are discovered when a resident hears them snoring, or a dog notices the bear’s presence. Other times, no one finds out until after they have woken up and left in the spring.
If anyone has a reason to believe a bear is preparing to sleep under a house call the BEAR League for assistance. Keep in mind also that bears will be foraging for as many as 20 hours a day just before they go into a den, so it is normal to see them out and about in the middle of the day.
Once again bears are being attracted to Donner Creek mobile home park in Truckee because of an abundance of unsecured garbage. BEAR League members responded to the presence of a mother bear with three cubs this week and chased them out of the park. It’s useless to force them away while continuing to offer food, however. They will return.
Bears are still targeting empty homes in Talmont. There have been several entries through single pane windows and through doors on older buildings. If homes are unoccupied most of the time, or for the winter, it is highly recommended that all food (including teas and spices) be removed. Barking dog alarms work extremely well in discouraging bears from entering empty houses.
Alpine Meadows continues to be the hardest hit village in the area. Many of the homes are empty, so no one is observing which bear or bears are responsible. We believe it is a yearling due to the fact that he has entered through relatively small openings, like dog doors. He also can easily open French doors, as they do not offer enough resistance where they meet in the center. Homes with barking dog alarms are much less likely to be invaded by the bear.
A mother bear with two cubs was reported eating unsecured trash in Tahoe Vista. One of the cubs is limping, probably due to falling from a broken tree limb or cutting himself on jagged glass or metal in the garbage. Anyone noticing this family is asked to call the BEAR League immediately so his injury can be assessed.
A mother and two cubs are still targeting empty homes in Tahoe Swiss Village and have been successful in raiding several kitchens. A good diversion is to have noise of some kind coming from within so the bears will think someone is at home.
The BEAR League can be reached at 525-7297 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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