Bears becoming a common face in Vermont - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bears becoming a common face in Vermont

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ESSEX, Vt. -

"It's not something you see in your neighborhood every night," said Michael Ford who saw a bear while walking her dogs.

Michael Ford was walking her puppies near her Essex home Saturday evening when she spotted an uninvited guest.

"I thought to myself 'Wow, the neighbors dog looks huge!' and my husband says 'I think that's a bear!" exclaimed Ford.

The bear has been causing problems in the normally quiet Pinewood community for the last week.

"The bear crossed the road and gone into the neighbors yard. We heard all kinds of crashing. He knocked their bird feeder over and was having a feast in their yard," said Ford.

"He came by the side of the house and messed around back there," said Debbie Austin, a resident who's bird feeders got destroyed by a bear.

Debbie Austin first saw the bear eating out of her bird feeder Saturday night.The next night, it came back and destroyed it. Metal bird feeders at a nearby home were also ruined.

"I stood by this back window here with my oldest son and we watched and there was a black blob moving across here and he jump up on this bird feeder with his hind legs," said Austin.

After a nice meal, the intruder needed a place to sleep off all that bird seed. Cindy Levine's husband first thought their dogs had gotten into the garden - but the damage was from an animal much larger.

"It's kind of funny. A bear had in fact been sleeping in our garden. You can see the impression right here, a pretty good sized guy," said Cindy Levine, a resident finding a bear that had slept in her garden.

Bear sightings are common in rural Vermont but are typically less numerous in residential areas. They're now popping up all over. And dozens of photos of them are popping up on our WCAX Facebook page. One looks ready to ride in Bristol. And another is waiting for a barbecue in Danville. In her 16 years living in the Pinewood neighborhood, Ford had never seen a bear here until this weekend's surprise encounter.

"It literally was dusk so there were still kids running around, riding bikes. It was a little scary!" exclaimed Ford.

"We usually get as many as 6 or 8, maybe 10 reports a summer, about this time of year, regarding the bears," said Lieutenant Ken Beaulieu of Essex Police Department.

Bears will remain in an area as long as there is a food source. Removing the supply can diminish the chance of a sighting.

"Preempt the bear contact by removing your bird feeders, making sure your garbage cans are in at night, take a scan around the back yard before you let your pet out," said Beaulieu.

Ford hopes that her first bear encounter will also be her last.

"I thought the worst thing that could happen was getting skunked at night so it's a little bit disconcerting!" said Ford.

Guide to living amongst bears -- www.vtfishandwildlife.com/library/factsheets/Hunting_and_trapping/big_game/Living_with_Vermonts_black_bears.pdf

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