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Bear feeding leads to tragic consequences in Lancaster


by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
May 16, 2018
LANCASTER — A fed bear is a dangerous bear. Recently in Lancaster, a bear that was allegedly being fed was wreaking havoc around town. According to reports, the bear met his untimely fate after falling from a tree.

According to bear experts, most bears ignore people unless they feel threatened or think you have something they may want to nibble on. Instinctively, they do not associate food with people, and therefore have no reason to attack a person. Bears are typically afraid of people, and will always choose to avoid confrontation.

When a person feeds a bear, that animal becomes less fearful, and the ease at which the bear is fed supersedes their fear. This causes unpredictable behavior, which is what makes the bear dangerous. A bear that has no fear for humans can become aggressive and have been known to kill people albeit a rare occurrence. It is a bad idea to become involved with a hungry fearless bear.

When a bear becomes fearless, it often meets a deadly fate as Fish and Game officers often have no choice but to kill it. A bear that is left to nature to feed itself will live longer lives.

In New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey, it is illegal to feed bears. Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont have zero restrictions. Violators in New Jersey and New Hampshire are subject to a fine if they previously ignored a warning. The fine in New Hampshire is up to $1,000. In New York and Rhode Island some violators could see jail time.

In New Hampshire, the Fish and Game Department regulations do not allow a person from giving, exposing, placing, depositing, scattering or distributing any material that could attract a black bear.

New Hampshire Fish and Game officer Mark Ober said, "I'm sure it's been put out there before, but a fed bear is a dead bear. This is a prime example why people cannot feed bears because it turns out badly for the bear. I don't know about this case particularly but we don't ever want to euthanize a bear. This is why, nothing can be put out, any attractant can become fatal for bear."

Ober explained, "Sometimes we use rubber bullets or pyrotechnic shells, like a firecracker although that is not as common as they could cause brush fire. Those are ejected from a shot gun. It's rare for a bear to die from falling from a tree. If this was the case it must be a fluke. The only time we would ever take a bear out is if there is a life threatening situation."

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