Get Educated
Learn about bears.
What You Can Do
Be responsible and take action.
Never Feed Bears

Being Bugged by a Bothersome Bear?

Get Educated

The first thing a bear thinks about and his-prime motivation is FOOD!

  • Bears have a tremendous sense of smell which guides them on their search for food.
  • Bears are attracted to residences in the quest for an easy meal.
  • Bear problems tend to be temporary. If the bear doesn't find food, he moves on.
  • Bear problems need to be addressed on a neighborhood basis. You can do all the right things but, if your neighbors do not the bear will stay around.

Bear Opening Trash CanBlack bears are generally docile.

  • When given a way to avoid conflict with people, they usually take it.
  • Bears are not vindictive and do not "get mad" when garbage or food is removed.

Black bears are smart.

  • They learn rapidly and know where they have found food in the past. Once they have hit "pay dirt" they may damage property to get the food source again.
  • Bears can pry open doors, windows, dumpsters or other structures if they can get their claws or teeth into a crack or opening. Normally they will do this only if they smell food inside or have "been lucky" before. They can easily tear through screens.

Black bears climb trees when frightened.

  • Treed bears will usually come down if left alone. They may remain in a tree for several days.

Government policy

  • There is NO bear relocation program in the state of California.
  • The California Department of Fish and Game WILL NOT relocate bears.

**When a complaint is registered about a problem bear that involves a threat to personal safety, or property damage, a depredation permit is issued. A trap is set and ANY bear that enters the trap is destroyed,**

People who create situations where bears get food, begin a cycle which usually results in death of the bear.

Note: County ordinances throughout the Tahoe Basin require Bear Proof enclosures be installed and used whenever bears have gained access to garbage.


Eliminate or Mask Garbage and Food Odors.

  • Bear Opening Trash CanPut unscented ammonia or unscented PineSol* ON THE FOOD inside every bag.
  • Deodorize garbage cans with bleach, unscented ammonia or unscented PineSol.*
  • Separate "wet garbage and keep in an air tight odor tight container. Use garbage disposal whenever possible. Freeze meat bones or other smelly items until pick-up day.
  • "Deodorize" soil or other porous surfaces where garbage has been stored and other areas where the bear may have spread garbage around.
  • Clean the BBQ, especially the drip pan.

Eliminate the source.

  • Install a "Bear Resistant " garbage container. There are several excellent examples now available for purchase.
  • Request a "Bear Resistant" dumpster for neighbors or homeowner groups, cabin or apartment complexes, and especially restaurants. Call your disposal company.
  • Put garbage out on the morning of pick-up, not on the night before (and certainly not all week long!!). If you cannot be there to put it out, ask a neighbor to help or take it with you for disposal somewhere else.
  • Do not feed pets outside and don't leave pet food outside.
  • Do not leave food in vehicles or tents. This includes toothpaste, lotions, gum or candy.
  • Clean food from baby seats. Leave NO diapers, clean or soiled, in the vehicles.
  • Remove freezers, refrigerators, picnic baskets and ice chests stored in open porches, garages and breezeways.
  • Compost piles can be a serious attractant.
  • Rinsing recyclables isn't enough, they recognize this as garbage and will still forage through it. Keep it out of sight.
  • Bring bird feeders and suet in at night or whenever there is no one at home. Bears will climb trees to reach an upper deck feeder.


Inspect your property

  • Bear Opening Trash CanClose windows at night on accessible ground floors and decks.
  • Don't leave pies, baked goods, or any food in or near a window sill or on a counter where visible. Sights and smells can be invitations to bears.
  • Securely block any access to any potential hibernation/den sites, i.e. under decks, houses or sheds before a bear decides to take up residence.
  • Strengthen or fortify outside doors and windows on sheds, cellars, workshops, garages or any place where food or garbage is kept.
  • Pine Sol's oil base evaporates slower and the scent remains
  • Homeowners & Renters Guide To Living In Bear Country

BEAR League


Intermountain Disposal

P.O. Box 1596 • Portola, California 96122-1596
Phone 530-832-4879    Fax 530-832-4934
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