Game commission: Encounters with bears can be avoided

Recent human and bear face-to-face encounters in the region only reinforce the need for how best to avoid potential pitfalls with these beasts of the forest.

A Muncy Creek Township woman’s dog was attacked and killed Saturday by a black bear, the woman’s second encounter with a bear, having been dragged and mauled herself in December 2018.

In late September, three black bears climbed a tree near Rommelt Elementary School in South Williamsport, a borough with far more population and nearby children and families.

Experts at the state Game Commission north central region office at Jersey Shore say the meet-ups can and should be avoided if possible.

“The main reason for people encountering bears is the bear is looking for a food source,” said Mike Steingraber, game warden supervisor commission’s region at Jersey Shore.

Steingraber acknowledged that he was not the officer in charge of investigating the bear that attacked a dog in Muncy Creek Township Saturday evening, but said he was aware of the details of the incident, and when the bears were found in a tree in South Williamsport.

Usually, bears are not going to go near people unless there is a reason,” Steingraber said. The best means of preventing encounters with bears is to remove any food source.

“Usually these are bird feeders,” Steingraber said.

The bears are opportunistic feeders and don’t know it is for a bird, he said.

Another concern is open trash containers, he said.

If possible, put garbage in a secure container in a garage or shed, or put it out on the day of trash collection, he said.

For those with livestock to feed, make sure they do it carefully and remain vigilant.

The risk of human to bear contact is not high despite a high volume of black bears in the region, Steingraber said.

Read more in Thursday’s Williamsport Sun-Gazette.


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