Time to watch out for wildlife: Hungry bears, calving moose likely to be ornery

Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011

After a long winter hibernation, bears are starting to be out and about -- and they are hungry -- says Alaska Department of Fish and Game Kenai area wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger.

"They're going to be looking for easy food items to obtain, so it's a good time to make sure the bird feeders are down and any attractants that might get bears into your area are taken care of and minimized," Selinger said.

Freezers outside should be latched closed or placed inside an electric fence to keep the bears out as part of the normal precautions this time of year, he advised. If you are unsure about bear-proofing your property, Selinger says to call Fish and Game and they will come out to your property and provide suggestions on how to minimize your risks.

In addition to bears roaming around, moose calving season season is under way. Selinger believes this could cause a change in the cow's demeanor.

"The neighborhood moose who was once pretty mellow around people and dogs might be a little bit more agitated this time of year," Selinger said. "Those calves need every opportunity to make it into the population."

Residents should show more caution than usual around cows this time of year. Selinger said to make sure children are aware that the cows might be more violent than in past months, and to keep dogs tied up when not being supervised.

Cows are likely to leave their calves in open areas, such as residents' yards, and calves may be left alone for hours at a time while the cow searches for food, which can lead to people trying to move them, according to Selinger. He advises not to do so, and to contact the Fish and Game if a stray calf is in the area for an extended period of time.

Fish and Game can be reached at 907-262-9368.

Logan Tuttle can be reached at logan.tuttle@peninsulaclarion.com.

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