Prepare for Bear: Take Action Now to Prevent Conflicts Later
- ADF&G Press Release

Sam Cotten, Commissioner
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, Alaska 99811-5526

Press Release: April 3, 2018

CONTACT: Ken Marsh, Public Information Officer, (907) 267-2892,

Prepare for Bear: Take Action Now to Prevent Conflicts Later

(Statewide) — Brown and black bears are stirring, particularly in Alaska's Southcentral and southern coastal regions, and will start appearing in the state's Interior and northern reaches any time. It's a sure sign of spring and a reminder for Alaskans to start practicing their "bear etiquette" by cleaning up food attractants around homes and neighborhoods.

"The number-one common denominator we see in human-bear conflicts each summer is unsecured trash," said Anchorage Area Wildlife Biologist Dave Battle.

Bears are already being seen in Anchorage and surrounding areas and Battle suggests residents bring in bird feeders, remove or secure trash, dog food — anything that might seem tasty to a hungry bear.

"Bears that are rewarded with food now are likely to become a problem all summer long," Battle said.

Because it's early in the season, natural foods are scarce in many parts of the state. This can make human-provided attractants particularly inviting to waking bears. Feeding bears, even unintentionally, is illegal and can result in fines.

To prevent bear problems this summer, biologists suggest the following:

  • Garbage — Store trash inside buildings or in bear-proof containers; keep secured until the day of scheduled pickup. Encourage neighbors to do the same.
  • Electric fences — Properly constructed electric fences can keep bears out of gardens, compost, and away from buildings, chicken coops, and domestic animals. For more information, contact your local department office or visit the webpage at
  • Barbecues — Clean barbecue grills, especially grease traps, after each use.
  • Pets — Feed pets indoors or clean up excess and spilled food between meals. Store pet food, livestock food, and birdseed indoors or in bear-resistant containers.
  • Bird Feeders — Take feeders down April through October, store out of bears' reach and remove spilled seed.
  • Freezers — Keep freezers locked in a secure building or otherwise out of bears' reach.
  • Gardens — Plant gardens in the open, away from cover and game trails. Only compost raw vegetable matter and turn over compost frequently.

In addition to taking preventative measures, residents should report incidents of bears frequenting neighborhoods or other populated areas, getting into trash, or showing aggression. Contact the nearest Alaska Department of Fish and Game office during regular business hours or report online 24/7 at If the situation involves an immediate public safety concern, call 911.

"So many situations go unreported, or we hear rumors days later via social media," said Battle. "We want to know any time brown bears are seen in town or populated areas, and people should let us know whenever they see bears in trash or feeding on human provided food."

Governor Bill Walker has officially proclaimed April Bear Awareness Month, recognizing that "our state abounds in bear country," and that "April is a good time to remind Alaskans about bears, their behavior, and how we can live responsibly and safely in bear country." The governor's "Bear Awareness Month" proclamation is available at

To learn more about coexisting with bears, call or visit your local department office or see the webpages at