Chief Michael Miksch and the Hanson Police Department, Chief Timothy Hanlon and the Whitman Police Department, and Chief Timothy Grenno and the Whitman Fire Department are urging residents to take precautions following numerous bear sightings in the area recently.
The bear, who is being referred to as Boo Boo, has been sighted a number of times in Hanson since late last week. The sightings have been mostly in the Whitman Street, Spring Street and Birchbark area of town near the borders of Whitman, Rockland and Hanover.
The bear has been seen roaming around Bristol and Plymouth Counties since mid May. It is believed to be a 2-3 year old black bear.
“It is somewhat uncommon for bears to be seen in this part of the state, but residents should know how to behave around them and how to prevent them from becoming more comfortable in the area,” Chief Miksch said. “Bears will become accustomed to living among humans if they think there are reliable food sources available, which often result from unsecured bird feeders, trash and compost bins and pet food. There are many easy steps people can take to avoid attracting bears to their neighborhood.”
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife offers several tips for residents regarding black bears in the community.
For anyone who lives in an area with bears, it is best to not set out bird feeders. In general, most bears are denned from mid-December through February. If you choose to put out bird feeders, doing so during this time may decrease the chance of a bear coming to your feeder. In mild winters, some bears may be active year-round. Bring in any feeders at the first sign of bear activity.
Other tips include:
Secure trash: Put trash barrels out the morning of trash pickup, not the previous evening. Store all garbage in closed containers in a garage or outbuilding. Trash should always be placed inside the dumpster, and never left accessible to bears.
Remove other attractants: Always feed pets indoors. Clean greasy barbecues and grills after each use. Do not leave food scraps, grease containers, or spilled grease in your yard.
Protect crops and orchards: Temporary electric fencing may be used to protect corn and other crops. Sevenstrand slanted non-electric fences have been used to keep bears out of orchards.
If contact is made: A bear’s first response to something unusual is to leave. If a bear is feeding in an area where it doesn’t belong, such as your yard, on a porch, or in a dumpster, step outside, yell, and make lots of noise. The bear will usually leave, accompanied by its young. Habituated bears may ignore minor harassment. If you continue to see bears, check your property and remove any potential food sources.
For a “black bears in Massachusetts” fact sheet, click here.