Living With Bears

Bear in the Tree_9100
If You See a Bear
In Raton, we frequently encounter Black Bears. The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is the most common bear species native to North America. If you see a bear in Raton, contact the Raton Police immediately.

Bear Safety Tips From the National Park Service
If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.), you’re too close. Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don’t run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Try to increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.

If a bear persistently follows or approaches you, without vocalizing, or paw swatting, try changing your direction. If the bear continues to follow you, stand your ground. If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout at it. Act aggressively and try to intimidate the bear. Act together as a group if you have companions. Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground). Throw nonfood objects such as rocks at the bear. Use a deterrent such as a stout stick. Don’t run and don't turn away from the bear. Don't leave food for the bear; this encourages further problems.

Most injuries from black bear attacks are minor and result from a bear attempting to get at people's food. If the bear's behavior indicates that it is after your food and you're physically attacked, separate yourself from the food and slowly back away.

If the bear shows no interest in your food and you're physically attacked, fight back aggressively with any available object; the bear may consider you as prey. Help protect others by reporting all bear incidents immediately. Above all, keep your distance from bears.

Tips for Living with Bears
Tips from Sandia Mountain BearWatch:
  • Don't feed a bear, ever. A fed bear is a dead bear.
  • Keep trash in a bear-proof garbage container or stored in a sturdy metal shed or closed garage. Put out garbage only on morning of pickup.
  • Don’t feed pets outdoors or leave pet dishes or store pet food outdoors.
  • Hang seed feeders from wires between trees high enough off the ground that a bear can’t reach it. Bring in hummingbird feeders at night. Feed suet and peanut butter only in winter when bears are in hibernation. Store birdseed in a closed container in a sturdy shed or the garage.
  • Keep barbeque grills clean.
  • Keep kitchen windows and doors closed on summer nights.
  • For small livestock and chickens use a sturdy metal shed and/or a 5-strand electric fence using an approved fence charger with alternating current. Be sure to check with the county inspector for guidelines and/limitations.
  • Put an electric fence around beehives.
  • Don’t plant fruit trees or berry bushes near your home. Remove fruit before it ripens to stop bears climbing and breaking branches. Remove fallen fruit. Don’t add melon rinds or fruit to compost pile except in winter.
  • Don’t leave food, groceries, pet food or birdseed in you car overnight
  • Don’t feed other wildlife as it will attract bears too.
  • If a bear is drinking from your swimming pool or hot tub, put water out as far from your house and neighbor’s homes as possible.
  • Keep all poisons inside your house; also many bears die from ingesting garbage bags.
  • Keep woodpiles and junk away from the house. Bears will hunt for rodents that live there.