Berkshire County Residents: A Bear In Your Backyard Equals Trouble
There is no doubt that an encounter with a bear can be a frightening experience, but that seems to be the situation lately throughout the beautiful Berkshires. I can say that my one-on-one back in April was spine tingling and I thank my dear friend Barbara Feldon for indirectly saving my life as I went to our mailbox to see if a parcel that was sent by her arrived. Within a short distance a medium sized black bear came out of nowhere and passed through our radio station entrance, then took a right at our WSBS sign, crossed route 7 and jumped into the other side of the woods. That enough was an experience where standing motionless truly paid off.
In south county, if you see a bear hovering around your property, especially near an available bird feeder, you could be in some serious trouble as an ordinance took effect to lessen these surprise conflicts. Homeowners MUST secure trash bins, neighborhood refuse and compost that contain animal products or bones as this could put people at risk with having their own encounter with a bear. Statistics show if bears find food on your property, they will return for an encore.
You could be penalized for not following the proper protocol on this new measure. the first offense will issue a warning and guidelines to properly secure food and it is imperative your bird feeders should be taken indoors to avoid a night time surprise. A 2nd violation translate into a $50 fine and could balloon up to $200 for repeat offenders.
In a recent interview with the Berkshire Eagle, Town of Great Barrington Conservation Agent, Shepard Evans calls these actions "inexcusable" as homeowners need to be held accountable:
"It really is important NOT to pervert the wildlife feeding world with your thoughtless garden garbage and intentional feeding"
David Wattles, a Mass Wildlife black bear biologist also added his two cents in this ongoing problem as he was quoted in a recent Eagle interview:
"It does NOT preclude the use of bird feeders, however, people hide behind this in some cases to where they say I'm just feeding the birds"
Reports indicate a pair of bears were shot in south county within the past few years. This ordinance in Great Barrington follows the heels of a recent measure enacted in the town of Stockbridge where a similar problem occurred. Police Chief Darrell Fennelley emphasized everyone must do their part in keeping their communities safe from these hungry four legged mammals as reports indicated they were also spotted walking down Main Street in search of a snack (or two)
BOTTOM LINE: Common sense and total responsibility should be exercised in this matter, otherwise it will truly lighten your wallet in the long run.
(Some information in this article was provided courtesy of The Berkshire Eagle)
LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world