Summer is officially over and bears are on the prowl for as much food as they can find before the snow starts to fall.
Sharon Wieder with WildSafe BC says she has received plenty of calls about bear sightings in the area.
“In the last three weeks, I have had about four to five calls a day in the Rossland and Trail area about bears,” she said.
So far, none of the bear sightings in the Rossland and Trail area have resulted in dangerous confrontations or interactions, as far as Weider knows and no bears have had to be destroyed.
The Trail Times received a report from a reader describing the same bear returning three nights in a row to their Annable home before knocking down the fence.
The Wildlife Alert Reporting Program interactive map shows several bears in the Rossland-Trail-Montrose-Fruitvale area in September.
When a call comes in, Wieder says the first thing she needs to know is the location of the sighted bear.
“Sometimes it is just a bear going through a bear corridor and there is not much that you can do,” she said. “If that is the case, I just talk to the caller about not having any attractants anywhere in the area that would keep them there, and just make sure they pass through.”
Bear sightings are more common in the area during this time of year because bears need to eat as much as they can before bunkering down for the winter months.
“This time of year, bear sightings are more frequent because they are in their hyperphagia stage,” said Wieder. “That means they are consuming about 20,000 calories a day and there are a lot of things that will attract them. It’s not only about garbage, but fruit trees as well.”
When bears start their months-long slumber all depends on the weather, says Wieder.
“It all depends on the snow and how much food they have eaten,” she said. “They come to a stage where they seem to know that they have enough fat to get them through the winter season, but typically, it will be around when the first big snow stays on the ground.”
A killing frost can also put an end to a bear’s hunt for winter fat stores.
“A good killing frost will kill off their natural foods,” said Wieder, adding that there are exceptions.
“Having said that, there is a lot of fruit, like elderberries or mountain ash berries that are actually better after a couple of good frosts. If there still isn’t any snow on the ground, they will start going after those too, but it all depends on how much snow there is and how much food they have had in the late summer and into the fall.”
Through the Harvest Rescue program offered by WildSafe BC, Weider says that a lot of fruit trees are picked and eliminated at attractants for bears in the area.
“I always offer the Harvest Rescue program if they have fruit they don’t want,” she said of callers reporting bear sightings. “Typically, (pickers) are people who want the fruit for themselves if it is good, but sometimes there is a situation where is a lot of fruit that is undesirable.”
Undesirable fruit picked through the program is usually given to the local landfill where it is composted. Some of the fruit that is suitable to eat, but doesn’t have a home will get donated to Kate’s Kitchen – a local food bank.
“We have dropped off pears and plums there already this year and they always appreciate it,” said Wieder.
On Oct. 4, WildSafe BC and Wieder will be holding a fruit pressing day for people with extra fruit they want to turn into juice or cider. This year’s event will be held in Rossland at a volunteer’s home. The fruit-pressing requires preregistration and those who want to participate next weekend, can call Wieder at 250-231-2751.
To see a realtime map of reported wildlife sightings in the Rossland and Trail area, visit www.wildsafebc.com/warp.