Fall weather means more than leaves changing colour and plump fruit-bearing trees.

It's the signal for bears to eat heartily to prepare for their winter hibernation.

While there has been no recent bear activity, last fall they had to remove bears from Fireside, Riverview, and the Bow Ridge neighborhoods.

"Last year, we had quite a few calls," says Fish and Wildlife officer Aeron Szott."We had three bears that were in Cochrane and they were all getting into garbage in the months of September and October."

The weather triggers exactly when this occurs, now is the time to take measures to discourage the bears from wandering into neighbourhoods.

"Bears will typically feed on natural food sources, but once the first heavy frost comes and the berries start to whither away, that's when they start looking for additional food sources. That's when they start coming into town looking at fruit trees, and then a lot of times they get into garbage left out overnight or unsecured garbage."

"It's a good reminder for residents if they do have fruit-bearing trees to start picking the fruit off the trees and the fruit that has fallen to the ground because that's the number one thing they're going after."

There are other ways recommended to discourage bears from visiting your property

  • Keep your garbage and recyclable bottles and cans in bear-resistant, airtight containers.
  • Keep your compost indoors. Outdoor compost attracts bears. Look into using an indoor composter.
  • Remove bird feeders from your yard in the months when bears are active – usually from the beginning of April until the end of November. Be sure to clean up any spilled birdseed from the ground.
  • Clean your barbecues. Scrub your barbecue clean after each use and store it in a bear-resistant building, such as the garage or shed.
  • Never leave food out for wildlife.
  • Talk to your neighbours. Let your neighbours know if you've seen a bear in the community.

If you encounter bears or other wildlife that may be a public safety concern, please call the Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.

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