Vermont bear encounters on the rise - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont bear encounters on the rise

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Courtesy: Gillian Stippa Courtesy: Gillian Stippa

Bear encounters are up in Vermont this summer and state officials are asking the public to help keep the bears at bay.

The Fish and Wildlife Department has received a large number of calls recently about encounters with bears venturing into backyards looking for food.

State experts say people often inadvertently encourage bears to come out of the forest by providing food without realizing it. Some of the most common sources of food that attract bears are pet food, bird feeders, barbecue grills and household trash containers. And bears that find food once will usually keep returning. That can lead to dangerous encounters. And when bears lose their fear of humans, they often have to be killed.

Under a new law, it is now illegal to intentionally feed bears, and people must take reasonable steps to prevent bears from being attracted to their property.

Click here for more from Fish and Wildlife on living with bears.

And Fish and Wildlife wants to hear from anyone who encounters bears. They ask that you fill out a bear incident report. Click here for more on that.

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