The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is reminding residents to put away bird feeders and keep garbage inside or in a bear-proof receptacle as reports of bears are on the rise.
The department said Monday that bears in human areas have been reported in Middlebury, East Montpelier, Lyndonville, Waterbury, Duxbury, Bolton, Killington, Richmond and Addison.
State bear biologist Forrest Hammond says black bears are naturally skittish but lose their fear of people if they start to associate human areas with food, such as birdseed, garbage, beehives and livestock. He says food-conditioned bears may need to be put down to protect human safety.
If a bear is spotted in a yard, he says to scare it with a loud noise so that it remains in the wild.