(FOX 9) - It's that time of year again. As bears begin roaming Minnesota, residents and visitors are reminded of some important safety tips, such as checking your property for foods that could attract them.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, as bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up. This means they'll be looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce.
Officials say it is important to remove attractants such as bird seed, garbage, livestock feed or compost to reduce potential conflict.
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"Black bears are the only bear species that live in the wild in Minnesota. They usually are shy and flee when encountered. Never approach or try to pet a bear. Injury to people is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed," a release read.
AROUND THE YARD
• Do not feed birds from April 1 to Nov. 15. Anytime you feed birds, you risk attracting bears.
• If you must feed birds, hang birdfeeders 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees. Use a rope and pulley system to refill birdfeeders, and clean up spilled seeds.
• Do not put out feed for wildlife (like corn, oats, pellets or molasses blocks).
• Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging flower baskets, which are also attractive to hummingbirds.
• Do not leave food from barbeques and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Coolers are not bear-proof.
• Clean and store barbeque grills after each use. Store them in a secure shed or garage away from windows and doors.
• Elevate bee hives on bear-proof platforms or erect properly designed electric fences.
• Pick fruit from trees as soon as it’s ripe and collect fallen fruit immediately.
• Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly. Do not add food scraps.
• Harvest garden produce as it matures. Locate gardens away from forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover.
• Use native plants in landscaping whenever possible.
• Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.
• Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic garbage cans are not bear-proof.
• Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup.
• Properly rinse all recyclable containers with hot water to remove all remaining product.
• Store recyclable containers, such as pop cans, inside.
For more about living in bear habitat, visit mndnr.gov/livingwith_wildlife/bears