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Black Bear Damage Control

Every year the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) receives hundreds of calls and complaints concerning black bears. Most of the complaints are of bears raiding garbage containers, bird feeders, and pet food left outdoors. It is not TWRA policy to routinely trap and move bears causing these types of problems. Due to the relatively large home ranges and mobility of bears, there is no place remote enough in Tennessee to relocate bears where they will not have contact with humans. Secondly, by moving bears often all that is accomplished is just the problem has been moved and not solved. Long-term solution to bears raiding garbage containers, bird feeders, and pet food left outdoors is to simply remove the food source and bears most often will go elsewhere.

Some people even intentionally feed bears. As a result of the improper storage of garbage, easy availability of bird seed, and the direct feeding of bears, animals often become habituated to humans and become a nuisance and a threat to human safety. Sadly, there are no other alternatives but to destroy bears that have become a threat to human safety. Last year hundreds of agency man-hours were spent addressing bear-human conflicts and some bears had to be destroyed as a result of irresponsible behavior of people directly and indirectly feeding bears. The fact that “Garbage Kills Bears” is irrefutable. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear. TWRA encourages residents to educate themselves by being "bear aware." Please help keep our communities safe by preserving the “wild” nature of bears by following these few simple tips:

  1. Do not feed bears
  2. Store garbage in bear-proof containers or in a manner that is inaccessible to bears
  3. Do not feed birds between April and January when bears are most active
  4. Keep pet food indoors and feed pets in the house or garage
  5. Do not add food to your compost piles
  6. Keep cooking grills clean and stored indoors when not in use

Bear-Proof Garbage Container Vendors