March 11, 2013 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is again advising St. Mary Parish residents to take precautions to minimize encounters with black bears. Today’s advisory follows the recent injury of a dog that chased a bear in a Patterson neighborhood.
Bears are seeking food sources in and around neighborhoods throughout the parish. This can include plentiful live oak acorns in people’s yards and unsecured garbage containers. Pet food containers left outdoors will also attract black bears.
LDWF has partnered with St. Mary Parish to provide homeowners bear-proof garbage containers to control this easy-access food source problem. Homeowners who already have bear-proof garbage containers are advised to make sure the cans are locked and not overfilled.
During this peak time of higher than normal bear activity, residents are advised to secure their dogs. Bears are normally shy and non-confrontational, but will protect themselves and their cubs when chased by dogs.
LDWF will continue to set traps in neighborhoods where nuisance bears re-appear and work with the parish to ensure compliance with bear-proof garbage container instructions. Intentional feeding of bears is against state law and violators are subject to citations. Patrols in this area will increase during this time to help minimize problems. Residents should report broken garbage containers to the St. Mary Parish bear conflict officer at 337-828-4100. To report problems with bears call 1-800-442-2511.
For more information, contact Maria Davidson, LDWF Wildlife Division, ph. 225-931-3061.