CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Western Mass News has heard from viewers who are concerned about a recent uptick in black bear sightings around their homes.
Across social media, area residents are expressing their concerns after seeing large bears in their yards. Some said their pets had some pretty close encounters with them. Suzanne Westscott of Chicopee is concerned for her safety. She goes down to the river very early in the morning and worries she might run into a bear.
Marion Larson is with the Massachusetts Division of Fishery and Wildlife. She said they always see an increase in bears during this time of year.
“The females are taking their young ones out and teaching them where to find food and how to survive,” Larson noted.
Larson told Western Mass News that these bears are looking for one thing: food. She said the best way to keep bears away from your home is to remove the food source. For example, make sure your trash is covered or wait to put it outside until the morning of pickup day. Also, bird feeders may be pretty, but Larson said to keep them inside during this time of year if you don’t want any furry visitors.
If you do encounter a bear, Larson said to remain calm and don’t run because you might trigger them to chase you.
“What to do is make yourself real big as you can, and scream a lot,” Westcott noted.
Larson added, “Turning and running is never a good idea no matter what the animal is because it creates a chase response.”
“They are more afraid of us than we are of them,” said Charles Masse of Springfield.
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