Gary Moore: Don't Create Bear Problems - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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The Caledonian-Record | St. Johnsbury, VT


home : sports : regional October 13, 2015

Gary Moore: Don't Create Bear Problems
Outdoors Writer

Most bear problems are really people problems. Despite the best efforts of wildlife agencies some refuse to take simple steps to avoid attracting bears and others intentionally feed bears, often signing a death warrant for the bear.

There is still a lack of natural food for bears as berries and other wild edibles are not yet available. N.H. Fish and Game bear biologist, Andy Timmins, said, "June is considered a 'transition period' between spring and summer foods. The succulent, emerging vegetation that bears fed on during spring has lowered in quality as a food source and the summer fruit crops are not yet ripe."

"This period of low food abundance causes bears to search out high-quality, readily available foods provided by humans, and is the main reason why the majority of bear complaints in New Hampshire occur during June and July."

Timmins pointed out that we are now in the peak tourist season and a time when a lot of residents and visitors are recreating outside in bear habitat. Campgrounds are full, restaurant dumpsters are overflowing, and human-related food attractants are highly abundant across the landscape.

Timmins' frustration is evident. Even though he and other wildlife managers have tried to educate the public, the number of bears shot by homeowners this year, mostly at unsecured chicken pens, is higher than ever.

"Staff from the Department and USDA Wildlife Services has been busy addressing bear conflicts over the past several weeks. It is astonishing how many of these conflicts are the direct result of garbage, birdfeeders and chickens," said Timmins. "Intentional backyard feeding is not the only problem. People appear not to realize they are contributing to bear/human conflicts by having open or plastic-topped dumpsters, unsecured household garbage, bird feeders or unprotected poultry and livestock."

Vermont Fish & Wildlife personnel are making similar pleas as Vermont is facing similar conflicts involving bears and humans.

Come on folks. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. The bear you think is cute and are feeding may be killing your neighbor's sheep or endangering local children playing outside.

Bits and Pieces

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is offering guided paddling trips. You can choose from a volunteer led, bring-your-own gear trip, or let a professional outfitter supply a boat and life jacket. Either way, you'll be led by a guide with local knowledge of the waterway and its ecology. To sign-up, email the trip leaders directly:

July 12, Missisquoi River in northern Vermont,

Aug. 2 Rangeley Lakes Region in Maine,

Volunteers are needed for work weekends that leave time for some paddling.

July 11-13 Upper Ammonoosuc River, NH

July 25-27 Rangeley Lakes Region, ME - Phase 1

Aug. 1-3 Rangeley Lakes Region, ME - Phase 2


Mark Breen reports in the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium's Skywatch Almanac that on July 8, 1816: "The Year Without a Summer; frost in Middlebury, Williamstown, and Windsor Vermont. Little damage was noted to crops."


The Coos County Conservation District is inviting residents to the NH Drinking Water Quality Improvement Partnership information meeting to be held Tuesday, July 22 at 5 p.m. at the UNH Extension's Granite State Room, 629 Main Street in Lancaster.

There will be a complimentary cookout before the meeting begins. RSVP at


It is time to hit the trail, any trail in the twin states be it long and difficult or short and easy. Why go to a gym when you can burn off calories while enjoying the natural beauty of the region in which we live.

Parting Shots

The rains came in torrents Thursday evening and along with the rains came high winds and thunder and lightening. We had to move off the porch as the winds blew the rain through the screens soaking our chairs and the futon.

The storm continued much of the night awakening me several times. I wondered what daylight would bring and if the many parades and events scheduled for our nation's birthday would be held. Luckily, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the celebrations took place.

I considered several options for July 4. Bradford does not have a parade or celebration but the surrounding towns do. The Fairlee/Orford, Woodsville/Wells River, and Corinth parades and events are always enjoyable as is the chance to talk with old friends. This year would be different.

My decision was made a week before when our favorite group, the Bayley Hazen Boys, played in Bradford during the strawberry festival on which Linda and I work. Talking to Gary Darling before the Friday evening event, I learned that they would be playing in Peacham following the parade.

So off to Peacham we went Friday morning, arriving in time to find a good spot to view the Tractor Parade. What fun that was seeing all makes, models and ages of tractors, many driven by young people whose smiles radiated at the applause they received.

In addition to the tractors, the parade had teams of horses as well as single mounts. Fire departments from surrounding towns proudly displayed their apparatus, sirens silent, ever mindful that they could be called into action at any moment.

Linda and I each had favorites in the parade but both agreed that the beautifully restored Farmall Cub was at the top of our lists.

The Bayley Hazen Boys performed in the fire station to the delight of the crowd, especially one very young person who danced up a storm.

Following the group's performance we headed south to Woodsville to listen to another of our favorite local groups, the Parker Hill Road Band. They were one of the bands playing during and all day celebration as part of the Woodsville/Wells River 4th.

That evening we watched A Capitol Fourth on PBS as we have done for years. It is always a fitting and enjoyable way to end the 4th.

Syndicated columnist Gary W. Moore may be reached by e-mail at or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.

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