The Bear Facts

Just in case you were not aware of it, there are numerous black bears throughout the Tahoe basin.

The opportunity to see one of these magnificent animals has become more and more likely- The primary reason for this is that, in the past several years, people have introduced unnatural foods into the bears regular diet. These new foods are: garbage, trash, pet food and bird seed.

Some folks even think it is a Kodak moment to attempt to hand feel a bear- It might seem a great photo opportunity to see a bear pick his way through a turned over trash can or to photograph a bear scurry up a tree- Many people make the mistake of calling out the rest or the family the household dog and all the neighbors to watch. Hours later they wonder why the bear is still up the tree.

Black bears do climb trees and they do it in fear. The only way to get them down is to leave them alone and remove the family dogs and neighbors completely out of site- In other words, leave them alone.

There are a few tips that will allow your bear experience to be a positive one- We ask you to observe these suggestions as the introduction of unnatural foods to bear habitats has proved increasingly deadly these animals. Bears that come too close to humans in their search for food are identified as a "nuisance" are destroyed .

In California, bears that become a problem are not relocated, they are trapped and shot to death. So the bear you photographed eating Snoopy's dog food may well be dead next week and if it happens to be a mother with cubs, they all die.

Please help to preserve the bear's right to share this planet with us by following these simple suggestions:

  1. DO NOT leave trash or garbage out overnight unless in a bear proof container- only put it out on the day of pickup.
  2. DO NOT leave any trash on your deck or in craw spaces under the house. Bears have an extremely good sense of smell and can detect odors through closed doors. A flimsy door leading to a crawl space is almost non-existent to a bear.
  3. DO NOT leave pet food out on decks overnight. Take it inside.
  4. DO NOT leave a window (screened or not) open with fresh baked brownies on the kitchen counter Remember if they (bears) can smell it, they will try to get it.
  5. DO NOT leave food or ice chests in vehicles.
  6. DO clean all trash containers with ammonia bleach, or Pine Sol.
  7. DO clean BBQ.
  8. DO remember that it is illegal to feed bears.

When hiking or in the backcountry make plenty of noise. If you do encounter a bear DO NOT run. Slowly back off and allow the bear room to pass or withdraw. If attacked fight back. Black bear attacks are extremely rare. There is a greater chance of serious injury from a bee sting or lightning. Above all enjoy your visit to Lake Tahoe and if you do happen to see a bear be responsible and follow these suggestions. By doing so your hear experience will be memorable one.