Please see Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s page for Living With Bears for information on what to do to stay safe when you see a bear around your house or neighborhood. Also see their FAQ’s page for answers to your most common bear questions.

Scare that Bear video

From the bear page:

Bears have and will always be present in Florida; our goal is to prevent them from lingering in residential areas by providing technical assistance and outreach/education. The very best approach to prevent bear encounters is to secure attractants that bring bears into neighborhoods. Household garbage is extremely high in calories and provides bears with a large caloric reward for very little effort. Black bears do not view humans as prey, but can and will learn to associate humans with food if they are continually rewarded with free meals from garbage cans, dumpsters, bird feeders, or pet food bowls. Once they lose their natural fear of humans and learn to treat them as a source for a handout, they can become a nuisance and a hazard. Bears are naturally shy of people, so scaring bears away when they are spotted will help reinforce their natural fear and let them know they are unwelcome. To scare them away make loud noises (shouting, banging pots and pans, airhorn, etc.), or use motion-activated alarms (example Critter Gitter), motion-activated water sprinklers (example Water Scarecrow), unwelcome mats, and electric fencing to keep them away from certain areas (more details in the “Scare that Bear” PDF). Marine locks can also be a great way to keep outdoor freezers and refrigerators secure. Trapping and removal of bears is a last resort; it does not become a viable option until after every effort has been made to secure the attractant. Getting in front of this situation before it becomes a nuisance issue resulting in garbage-habituated bears is the most effective approach to managing and mitigating human-wildlife conflict.

Bears are driven by their need to eat and with a sense of smell that can detect odors over a mile away, problems arise when bears gain access to food sources such as pet foods, garbage, barbecue grills, bird seed or even livestock feed. 

As bears become “food-conditioned” (dependent on a food source) they are more likely to frequent residential areas and cause property damage to get these unnatural food sources. Over time, they become “habituated”, gradually losing their fear of humans and will return frequently to locations with accessible food.

-Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Please see the pamphlet on the section above on what are attractants to wildlife [bears] in your yard.

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