Black bears are a common sight this time of year in Mountain Top as they search for food anywhere they can find it. An official from the Pennsylvania Game Commission shared advice this week on how to deter bears from residential areas and how to handle a face-off with the large mammal.
“A bear walking through a neighborhood, that’s not uncommon,” Mark Rutkowski, law-enforcement supervisor for the Game Commission, related. The bear population in Pennsylvania has been increasing for decades and so has the human population, in places like Mountain Top.
This time of year, officers at the PA Game Commission receive hundreds of bear complaints. The calls start around May, he said, and escalate leading into mating season, right about now. At Fairview’s July Board of Supervisors meeting, police reported that, in June, almost a dozen calls were received pertaining to bear sightings in the township.
“Berries are starting to get ripe and the bears start to retreat into areas where they can find food,” Rutkowski explained. “People must remove all food sources from their yards.”
What residents commonly don’t realize is that bird feeders are a good bear food source. “If you are in an area with bears, you should not have birdfeeders,” he emphasized. In a place like Mountain Top, bird feeders should only be utilized in the months of January, February, and March.
Garbage bags full of waste should never be placed outside, as they will attract bears, Rutkowski related, but