Living in Harmony With Black Bears in Central Florida

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Black Bears and Fencing

Central Florida is no stranger to black bears, especially if you live in the Longwood, Wekiva Springs, or any Seminole County area. It is not uncommon for a homeowner to see a bear sitting in the backyard next to the pool or a few cubs resting high in a tree. Regardless of where we see those bears, it can create awkward hello when we let the dog out into that backyard.

For those of us living in these areas, it is important to know that black bears are protected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Homeowners can live in harmony with black bears by following some guidelines from the FWC:

 

  1. Do not feed black bears. Bears that are fed by humans can become habituated and begin moving into residential areas. Bears in neighborhoods can become a public safety threat, resulting in relocation or even death of bears. The best thing to remember is “A fed bear is a dead bear”

 

  1. Eliminate food sources accessible to bears such as garbage cans, compost bins, ripe fruit or vegetables on plants, or pet and livestock foods. Bears will not stay in areas with no easily accessible food sources and will move elsewhere to find food. Protect beehives, gardens, and livestock with electric fencing. Homeowners can find wildlife-resistant garbage cans (like a bear-resistant container or caddy ) to help keep bears away from their homes. Put garbage out in the morning rather than the night before.

 

  1. If a bear is causing issues on your property, use a bear spray to repel or scare the bear away. Black bears are protected in the State of Florida, and it is illegal to shoot one without a FWC permit, unless you are protecting a human life.

 

  1. If you encounter a black bear on your property or in any residential area, it’s best to slowly back away and enter a safe location such as a house, business, or vehicle. Do not run, as this could trigger the nears natural instincts, and black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour.

 

  1. And remember, black bears are very non-confrontational and will most likely not attach. Most black bear attacks result from a bear protecting itself, its young, or its food.

 

So, before you install a new fence, or repair a fence, we at Custom Fence Orlando encourage you to remember two simple concepts:

  • First, most homeowners who live in bear territory simply do not think about bears when they are looking for a fence.
  • Second, most fence companies in Central Florida aren’t thinking about bears either.  They just focus on the exchange.

Ask that fence company how the proposed fence can assist in avoiding those awkward bear meetings. Understand, vinyl fences are flexible. They are not bear resistant. A bear can take one paw, apply pressure, and that vinyl picket will pop right out. To a bear, that cheap prefabricated wood fence is like a thin piece of balsa-wood in a human's hands. A fence is only a deterrent when it comes to bears. Some work better than others.

So, when it comes to bears and fences, remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Bears, more often than not, are attracted to something in the backyard. Follow the FWC guidelines to living with bears to protect your home, family, and fence from black bears, and to help protect bears as well.

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