Maine authorities warn of hungry bears emerging from hibernation


AUGUSTA - With a long, weird winter coming to a close, officials are warning of hungry bears emerging from a longer than expected hibernation. And, no, we don't mean gay bears. Actual bears.


The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is warning homeowners to avoid leaving food in their yards due to beary hungry bears emerging from hibernation after a late start to spring.

The Department has already received 27 nuisance reports, most of them in York County. The reports have prompted the Kennebunk Police Department to post on social media:

“Due to the late spring, we anticipate that bear complaints could reach higher than normal levels this year. Spring is the time of year when natural foods for bears are scarcest, and as a result bears will often seek accessible food in people’s back yards,” said Jen Vashon, DIF&W’s bear biologist.

According to the Department's website:

Maine is home to the largest population of black bears in the lower 48 states. Our bears are most active between April 1 and November 1.

When natural foods are scarce, especially in the spring or dry summers, bears will venture into backyards and fields in search of easily accessible food such as bird feeders, garbage, grills and pet foods.

While hundreds of conflicts between bears and people are reported each year in Maine, many can be prevented by simply removing or securing common bear attractants. Removing these food sources will also limit other backyard visitors (raccoons, skunks, etc.).

The Department also provides the following graphics:

Conflicts with Bears

Encounters with Bears

Rainbow Bear Image Source: