Look here for links in the magazine, both back issues and current, as well as links to related Web sites.
GAME COMMISSION OFFERS ADVICE TO AVOID ATTRACTING BEARS
More information on bears is available on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by putting your cursor on “HUNT/TRAP” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, clicking on the “Hunting” in the drop-down menu listing and clicking on “Black Bears” in the “Big Game” section.
HARRISBURG – As spring has sprung, many Pennsylvanians soon will be spending more time outdoors and seeing more wildlife – and signs of wildlife – in their yards and other places they frequent. Pennsylvania Game Commission officials remind residents that among the wildlife that will become more visible are Pennsylvania’s roughly 18,000 black bears, all of which will be looking for food.
“After several months of hibernation, sightings of bears will be to increase as spring progresses,” said Mark Ternent, Game Commission black bear biologist. “Food for bears is naturally scarce in early spring until green-up. So some bears emerging from dens may be attracted to other food sources found near people, setting the stage for nuisance bear problems.
“However, bears that wander near residential areas in search of food are less likely to stay or return if they do not find anything rewarding. Conversely, if bears find food in backyards, they quickly learn to associate food with residential areas and begin to spend more time in those areas. As a result, encounters between humans and bears, property damage and vehicle accidents involving bears may increase.”
Ternent noted that taking action now to avoid attracting or keeping bears close to residential areas can help prevent bears from becoming even more of a nuisance later in the summer.
“Those who have been feeding birds this winter should plan to stop, or at least curtail, their feeding,” Ternent said. “Anything edible placed outside for any reason – whether it is food for wildlife or pets or unsecured garbage – gives bears a reason to visit your property.
“If denied the easy access to food, bears generally will move on. It is important to remember that attempting to trap and move bears that have become habituated to humans can be a costly and sometimes ineffective way of addressing the problem. That is why wildlife agencies around the country tell people that a ‘fed bear is a dead bear.’”
Ternent listed five suggestions that could prevent attracting bears to a property:
Play it smart. Do not feed wildlife. Food placed outside for wildlife, such as corn for squirrels, may attract bears. Even bird feeders can become “bear magnets.” Bear conflicts with bird feeding generally don’t arise in the winter because bears are in their winter dens. But at other times of the year, birdfeeders will attract problem bears. If you do chose to feed songbirds during the summer, Audubon Pennsylvania offers some tips, including: avoid foods that are particularly attractive for bears, such as sunflower seeds, hummingbird nectar mixes or suet; bring feeders inside at night; or suspend feeders from high crosswires so they are at least 10 feet above the ground and four feet from anything a bear can climb, including overhead limbs.
Keep it clean. Don’t put out garbage until pick-up day; don’t throw table scraps out back; don’t add fruit or vegetable wastes to your compost pile; and clean your barbecue grill regularly. If you have pets and feed them outdoors, consider placing food dishes inside overnight. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.
Keep your distance. If a bear shows up in your backyard, stay calm. Shout at it like you would to chase an unwanted dog. Don’t approach it. If the bear won’t leave, call the nearest Game Commission regional office or local police department for assistance.
Eliminate temptation. Bears that visit your area are often drawn there. Neighbors need to work together to reduce an area’s appeal to bears. Ask area businesses to keep dumpsters closed and bear-proofed (chained or locked shut with a metal lid).
Check please! If your dog is barking, or cat is clawing at the door to get in, try to determine what has alarmed your pet. But do it cautiously, using outside lights to full advantage and from a safe position. All unrecognizable outside noises and disturbances should be checked, but don’t do it on foot with a flashlight. Black bears blend in too well with nighttime surroundings providing the chance for a close encounter.
Pennsylvanians also are reminded that if they see cubs alone, it does not necessarily mean they have been abandoned or orphaned.
“During the spring, sows may leave their cubs for several hours, typically up in a tree, while they forage,” Ternent said. “If you encounter cubs, leave the area the way you entered it and leave the cubs alone. Staying in the vicinity prevents the mother from returning, and attempting to care for the cubs is illegal and may result in exposure to wildlife diseases or habituate the young bears to humans.
“Cubs that have been removed from the wild and habituated to people are difficult to rehabilitate for release back into the wild and may result in the cub being euthanized.”
Ternent noted that, as a result of Pennsylvania’s large human and bear populations, it is not uncommon for people and bears to encounter one another.
“Bears needn’t be feared, nor should they be dismissed as harmless; but they should be respected,” Ternent said. “In the past 10 years fewer than 20 people have been injured by bears in Pennsylvania, and there are no known records of a Pennsylvania black bear killing a human.
“Injury from a black bear is often the result of a human intentionally or unintentionally threatening a bear, its cubs, or a nearby food source, and the best reaction is to defuse the threat by leaving the area in a quiet, calm manner.”
Ternent also advised:
Stay Calm. If you see a bear and it hasn’t seen you, leave the area calmly. Talk or make noise while moving away to help it discover your presence. Choose a route that will not intersect with the bear if it is moving.
Get Back. If you have surprised a bear, slowly back away while talking softly. Face the bear, but avoid direct eye contact. Do not turn and run; rapid movement may be perceived as danger to a bear that is already feeling threatened. Avoid blocking the bear’s only escape route and try to move away from any cubs you see or hear. Do not attempt to climb a tree. A female bear may falsely interpret this as an attempt to get at her cubs, even though the cubs may be in a different tree.
Pay Attention. If a bear is displaying signs of nervousness – pacing, swinging its head, or popping its jaws – about your presence, leave the area. Some bears may bluff charge to within a few feet. If this occurs, stand your ground, wave your arms wildly, and shout at the bear. Turning and running could elicit a chase and you cannot outrun a bear.
Fight Back. If a bear attacks, fight back as you continue to leave the area. Black bears have been driven away with rocks, sticks, binoculars, car keys, or even bare hands.
“Learning about bears and being aware of their habits is a responsibility that comes with living in rural and suburban Pennsylvania or recreating in the outdoors,” Ternent said.
In 2003, a regulation prohibiting the feeding of bears went into effect. The regulation made it unlawful to intentionally “lay or place food, fruit, hay, grain, chemical, salt or other minerals that may cause bears to congregate or habituate an area.” The exceptions to this regulation are “normal or accepted farming, habitat management practices, oil and gas drilling, mining, forest management activities or other legitimate commercial or industrial practices.”
The regulation enables Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers (WCOs) to issue written notices that direct landowners to discontinue wildlife feeding, even if not intended for bears, including songbird feeding, if the feeding is attracting bears to the area and causing problems with bears nearby.
To report nuisance bears, contact the Game Commission Region Office nearest you. The telephone numbers are: Northwest Region Office in Franklin, Venango County, 814-432-3188; Southwest Region Office in Bolivar, Westmoreland County, 724-238-9523; Northcentral Region Office in Jersey Shore, Lycoming County, 570-398-4744; Southcentral Region Office in Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, 814-643-1831; Northeast Region Office in Dallas, Luzerne County, 570-675-1143; and Southeast Region Office in Reading, Berks County, 610-926-3136.
More information on bears is available on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by putting your cursor on “HUNT/TRAP” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, clicking on the “Hunting” in the drop-down menu listing and clicking on “Black Bears” in the “Big Game” section.
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In the September/October issue of Pennsylvania Magazine:
From the article Uncovering a Civil War Mystery (High school students reproduce 1864 Confederate submarine lanterns) by Jodi Webb, photographs by Edward “Ned” Eisenhuth
At the end of that article, we mention the three previous projects done with students by Edward “Ned” Eisenhuth and retired industrial arts teacher Frederick Lutkus at Minersville Area Junior/Senior High School in Schuylkill County.
If you’d like a copy of the current issue, send a note to [email protected].
The article about the Viking sled can be downloaded with this LINK.
The article about the Viking boat can be downloaded with this LINK.
The article about the Medieval farmer’s cart can be downloaded HERE.
This is a listing that goes with an article in the Sept./Oct. 2010 issue of Pennsylvania Magazine of New Deal Post Office artwork. If you’d like to see a copy of the article, email the editor.
Post Office Art in Pennsylvania, list compiled by the article author
Aliquippa1 – Oil on canvas, 1938, Western Pennsylvania ; artist Niles Spencer
Allentown – Oil on canvas, 1939, 10 panels, untitled; artist Gifford Beal
Altoona – Oil on canvas, 1938, Pioneers of Altoona and Growth of the Road ; artist Lorin Thompson
Altoona – Oil on canvas, no date; artist Sterling Smeltzer
Ambler – Oil on canvas, 1939, The Family?Industry and Agriculture ; artist Harry Sternberg
Athens – Oil on canvas, 1941, General Sullivan at Tioga Point ; artist Allan D. Jones Jr.
Bangor – Oil on slate, 1941, Slate Belt People ; artist Barbara Crawford
Beaver Falls – Oil on canvas, 1938, The Armistice Letter ; artist Eugene Higgins
Belle Vernon – Oil on canvas, 1942, Men of Coal and Steel ; artist Michael Loew
Blawnox2 – Wood relief, 1941, The Steel Worker and Family ; artist Mildred Jerome
Bloomsburg – Walnut relief, 1937, Pennsylvania Farming ; artist Roy King
Boyertown – Plaster reliefs, 1941, Harvest, Transfer of Skill, Education, Barnyard ; artist Moissaye Marans
Bridgeville3 – Fresco, 1941, Smelting ; artist Walter Carnelli
Brownsville – Oil on canvas, 1936, Showing the People in the Early Days Transferring from Stagecoach to Boat ; artist Richard Lahey
Burgettstown – Oil on canvas, 1942, View of Burgettstown ; artist John F. Folinsbee with Peter Cook assisting
California – Oil on canvas, 1939, Monongahela River ; artist Saul Berman
Canonsburg – Oil on canvas, 1937, Beatty’s Barns ; artist Peter Blume
Catasauqua – Oil on canvas, 1936, Arrival of the Stage ; artist F. Luis Mora
Chester – Metal, 1938, William Penn ; artist Erwin Springweiler
Clarks Summit – Aluminum, 1939, Communication by Mail ; artist Harry P. Camden
Columbia – Oil on canvas, 1938, Columbia Bridge ; artist Bruce Mitchell
Conshohocken – Wood relief, 1942, Steel Workers ; artist Robert I. Russin
Coraopolis2 – Three wood relief, 1940, Racoon, Deer, Fox ; artist Nena de Brennecke
Coudersport – Plaster relief, 1939, Lumbering in Potter County, 1815–1920 ; artist Ernest Lohrmann
Danville – Aluminum, 1941, Iron Pouring ; artist Jean de Marco
Doylestown – Oil on canvas, 1937, William Markham Purchases Bucks County Property ; artist Charles Child
Drexel Hill – Wood relief, 1942, Aborigines ; artist Concetta Scaravaglione
East Stroudsburg4 – Sculpture, 1937, Communication ; artist (Marguerite) Bennett Kassler
Elizabethtown – Oil on canvas, 1942, Squaw’s Rest ; artist Lee Gatch
Everett – Plaster, 1940, Signing the Constitution ; artist Hazel Clere
Farrell5 – Mural, 1939, Myths of Vulcan and Juno ; artist Wood (Riggs)
Ford City – structural glass, ivory color, 1941, Glass Making ; artist Josephine Mather
Freeland – Oil on canvas, 1938, Freeland ; artist John F. Folinsbee
Girard – Wood relief, 1942, Vacation Time ; artist Janet De Coux
Hamburg – Wood relief, 1941, Home ; artist Nathaniel Kaz
Honesdale – Oil on canvas, 1937, Canal Boat, Clearing the Wilderness, Coal, Gravity Railroad, Visit by Washington Irving ; artist Walter Garder
Irwin6 – Wood relief, 1942, Puddlers ; artist Chaim Gross
Jeanette – Oil on canvas, 1938, Battle of Bushy Run and Glass Industry ; artist Frank T. Olson design and Robert L. Lepper
Jenkintown7 – Tempera, 1942, General Washington’s Troops on Old York Road ; artist Hersechel Levit
Johnstown8 – Granite, 1938, Eagles ; artist Louis Slobodkin
Kutztown – Oil on canvas, 1937, Rural Route Number One ; artist Judson Smith
Lititz – Wood relief, 1941, The Moravian Communion – Lititz Spring Picnic ; artist Joseph Nicolosi
Mahanoy City – Plaster, 1939, Coal Miners Returning from Work ; artist Malvina Hoffman
McDonald – Plaster relief, aluminum finished, 1937, Agriculture and Industry ; artist August Jaegers
Manheim – Oil on canvas, 1938, The First Orchestra in America ; artist Theresa Bernstein
Masontown – Oil on canvas, 1941, General Lafayette Is Welcomed at Friendship Hill by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Gallatin on May 27, 1825 ; artist Harry Leith-Ross
Mercer – Oil on canvas, 1940, Clearing the Land ; artist Lorin Thompson
Mercersburg – Plaster relief, 1938, Good News ; artist Joseph Nicolosi
Meyersdale – Plaster relief, 1940, Harvesters at Rest ; artist Fred De Lorenzo
Midland – Sculpture, 1940, Steel Workers ; artist Humbert Albrizio
Mifflinburg – Plaster reliefs, 1941, Pioneers of the Community ; artist (Marguerite) Bennett Kassler
Milton – Bronze and stone, 1936, bronze plaque – Milton topography; stone reliefs – Native Americans and mail transportation; artist Louis A. Maene
Morrisville8 – Oil on canvas, 1939, Canal Era ; artist Yngve Soderberg
Mount Pleasant – Plaster relief, 1937, Air Mail ; artist Alexander Sambugnac
Mount Union – Oil on canvas, 1937, The Union of the Mountains ; artist Paul Rohland
Muncy – Oil on canvas, 1938, Rachel Silverthorne’s Ride ; artist John W. Beauchamp
Nazareth – Oil on canvas, 1938, Cement Industry ; artist Ryah Ludins
Norristown – Oil on canvas, 1936, Local Industry and U.S. Mail ; artist Paul Mays
North East – Cast stone, 1937, The Town Crier ; artist Leo Lentilli
Northampton – Cast stone relief, 1939, Physical Changes of the Postman through the Ages ; artist Maurice Glickman
Northumberland – Red mahogany relief, 1942, Dr. Joseph Priestley ; artist Dina Melicov
Oakmont – Terra-cotta relief, 1942, Allegheny River ; artist Franc Epping
Palmyra9 – Wood reliefs, 1940, Reaping, The Oldest Church in the Valley, Ploughing ; artist Alice Decker
Philadelphia10 – Oil on canvas, 1939, Philadelphia Waterways with Ben Franklin Bridge and View of Downtown Philadelphia Skyline ; artists Moses and Raphael Soyer
Philadelphia11 – Tempera, 1939, Mail Delivery, City, Country, Northern Coast, Office, Home, Tropics, History of Mail, Transportation by Water ; artist George Harding
Philadelphia12 – Oil on canvas, 1938, Iron Plantation near Southwark – 1800 and Shipyards at Southwark – 1800 ; artist Robert E. Larter
Philadelphia13 – Oil on canvas, 1938, Streets of Philadelphia ; artist Walter Gardner
Philadelphia14 – Stone reliefs, 1941, Mail Delivery – North, South, East, West ; artist Edmond R. Amateis
Philadelphia14 – Sculpture, 1940, Law, Justice and two eagles; artist Donald De Lue
Pittsburgh15 – Oil on canvas, 1942, History of Squirrel Hill ; artist Alan Thompson
Pittston – Limestone reliefs, 1942, Indian, Mine Elevator, Campbell’s Ledge ; artist Marion Walton
Plymouth – Oil on canvas, 1938, Meal Time with the Early Coal ; artist Jared French
Quakertown4 – Oil on canvas, 1938, Quaker Settlers ; artist Bertram Goodman
Renovo – Oil on canvas, 1943, Locomotive Repair Operation ; artist Harold Lehman
Roaring Spring – Oil on canvas, 1942, Mountain Landscape ; artist Elizabeth Shannon Phillips
Scottdale – Oil on canvas, 1937, Local Life and Industries ; artist Harry Scheuch
Scranton16 – Oil on canvas, 1941, Nature’s Storehouse ; artist Herman Maril
Selinsgrove – Tempera, 1939, Susquehanna Trail ; artist George Rickey
Sellersville – Tempera, 1937, Carrying the Mail ; artist Harry Sternberg
Somerset – Oil on canvas, 1941, Somerset – Farm Scene ; artist Alexander J. Kostellow
Swarthmore – Wood relief, 1937, The Spirit of the Post ; artist Milton Horn
Tunkhannock – Oil on canvas, 1941, Defenders of the Wyoming Country – 1778 ; artist Ethel V. Ashton
Turtle Creek – Wood relief, 1939, Treaty of William Penn and the Indians ; artist Mildred Jerome
Union City – Wood relief, 1941, The Lumberman ; artist Vincent Glinsky
Vandergrift – Oil on canvas, 1939, Railroad Postal Service ; artist Fred Hogg Jr.
Wayne – Oil on canvas, 1941, Anthony Wayne ; artist Alfred D. Crimi
Wilkes Barre17 – Oil on canvas, 1941, Anthracite Coal ; artist George Harding
Wyomissing3 – Terra-cotta relief, 1941, Industry ; artist Cesare Stea
York – Wood, 1946, Prayer of Thanksgiving ; artist George Kratina
York – Wood, 1946, Singing Thanksgiving ; artist Carl L. Schmitz
1 Stored at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
4 Located in building
5 Painted over
6 Inew post office
7 Stored in local high school
8 Building no longer owned by USPS
9 Currently displayed at Bindnagle Church
10 USPS Administration Office
11 North Philadelphia Branch
12 Southwark Branch
13 Spring Garden Branch
14 William Penn Annex
15 Squirrel Hill Station
16 West Scranton Branch
When I planted my sunflowers in the spring, I had no idea that two of them would end up being 12 feet tall. The stock is about 4.5 inches around and their height dwarfs the other sunflowers that they are growing by.
joe kostelansky, butler
We mentioned this movement in the News and Views section of the May/June issue. Here’s what appeared there:
Buy Fresh, Buy Local
This issue we feature a Pennsylvania dairyman and cheese maker, Brian Futhey (see page 8). His cheese is available at many markets that are part of the Buy Fresh Buy Local program, which is coordinated by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. This organization has a Web site at www.buylocalpa.org with regional listings of farmers’ markets, farms, restaurants, retail stores and wineries and breweries. When you find a Buy Fresh Buy Local sign, you’ve found a business owner who has made a commitment to feature local foods and support local producers. We’ll add a link to this Web site on pa-mag.com.
If you are already committed to supporting local producers in your area, please log onto our site and add a comment on our Buy Fresh Buy Local post.
So, what are you doing to buy fresher and more locally?
Send an email to [email protected] or add a comment to this post.
A friend and I were returning from a trip to Coudersport last Summer, using back roads. We saw this guy stretched across a dirt road just north of Shawville, in Clearfield County. I did swerve to miss it, however, I may have nipped it’s tail. I stopped and backed up, and he was ready for action. Judging by the look on it’s face, and the noise it was making, it was obviously upset. I did get out, and I took a couple of pictures, using the zoom lens, from a distance. After a few moments, we decided that the best thing to do was leave, so we did.
Charlie Moyer, Ebensburg
Howard Hackett, McClure
My husband belongs to a rod-and-gun club. The club’s cabin is in the Poe Valley region of Bald Eagle State Forest in Center County. We have walked the nearby trails many times but each walk has its own surprises. As the Mid State Trail passes through the Penns Creek Wild Area it enters an old railroad tunnel. A thunderstorm had just rolled through Poe Valley and the warm summer air was meeting the cool air from the tunnel.
Nancy Konopka, Gettysburg
Here’s a press release from the PGC about bears in autumn. For more information, see the PGC website: www.pgc.state.pa.us
THE PENNSYLVANIA GAME COMMISSION OFFERS ADVICE ON AVOIDING BEAR CONFLICTS
HARRISBURG – With tomorrow being the first day of autumn, many Pennsylvanians will be spending increasing amounts of time outdoors. This also is when black bears become more active, setting the stage for an increase in bear sightings and possibly encounters.
Mark Ternent, Pennsylvania Game Commission black bear biologist, noted that, as fall progresses, bears will begin to increase their food intake to prepare for the upcoming denning season, which begins in mid- to late-November. For some bears, the search for food may lead them closer to people or homes.
Ternent offered suggestions on how to reduce the likelihood that your property will attract bruins and how to best react when a bear is encountered.
“Bear activity can increase during the fall as bears try to consume as many calories as possible from any source they can find in preparation for denning,” Ternent said. “As a result, sightings of bears can increase, particularly if natural nut and berry crops are below average.
“While Pennsylvania bears are mostly timid animals that would sooner run than confront people, residents should know a few things about how to react if they encounter a bear, or better yet, how to avoid an encounter altogether by reducing the likelihood of attracting bears in the first place.”
Ternent stressed there are no known records of a Pennsylvania black bear killing a human, and there have been fewer than 25 reported injuries resulting from black bear encounters during the past 10 years in the state. However, deaths caused by black bears have occurred elsewhere in North America. Pennsylvania’s bear population currently is estimated at 15,000 animals, and reports of problems because people failed to keep food away from bears are not uncommon.
“Pennsylvanians need to understand that when bears become habituated to getting food from people, it can lead to conflicts, property damage and the possibility of injury or eventual destruction of the bear,” Ternent said. “Feeding wildlife, whether the activity is intended for birds or deer, can draw bears into an area. Once bears become habituated to an area where they find food, they will continue to return, which is when the bear can become a real problem for homeowners and neighbors.
“Even more disturbing are the reports we receive about people intentionally feeding bears to make them more visible for viewing or photographing.”
Since March 2003, it has been illegal to intentionally feed bears in Pennsylvania. Also, the unintentional feeding of bears which results in nuisance complaints filed with the Game Commission can result in a written warning that, if ignored, could lead to a citation and fine.
“We recognize that people enjoy viewing wildlife, and we are not attempting to impact that activity,” Ternent said. “But, the agency has an obligation to reduce conflicts when and where we can. All too often, human complaints about bears can be traced back to intentional or unintentional feeding. To protect the public, as well as bears, we need to avoid the dangers of conditioning bears to finding food around homes. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.”
Ternent listed five recommendations to reduce the chances of having a close encounter with a black bear on a homeowner’s property:
Play it smart. Do not feed wildlife. Food placed outside for wildlife, such as corn for squirrels or deer, may attract bears. Reconsider putting squash, pumpkins, corn stalks or other Halloween or holiday decorations outside that also may attract bears. Even bird feeders can become “bear magnets.” Tips for how to safely feed birds for those in prime bear areas include: restrict feeding season to when bears hibernate, which is primarily from late November through late March; avoid foods that are particularly attractive for bears, such as sunflower seeds, hummingbird nectar mixes or suet; bring feeders inside at night or suspend them from high crosswires; and temporarily remove feeders for two weeks if visited by a bear. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.
Keep it clean. Don’t place garbage outside until pick-up day; don’t throw table scraps out back for animals to eat; don’t add fruit or vegetable wastes to your compost pile; and clean your barbecue grill regularly. If you feed pets outdoors, consider placing food dishes inside overnight.
Keep your distance. If a bear shows up in your backyard, stay calm. From a safe distance, shout at it like you would to chase an unwanted dog. If the bear won’t leave, slowly retreat and call the nearest Game Commission regional office or local police department for assistance. Children should understand not to run, approach or hide from a bear that wanders into the yard, but, instead, to walk slowly back to the house.
Eliminate temptation. Bears that visit your area are often drawn there. Neighbors need to work together to reduce an area’s appeal to bears. Ask area businesses to keep dumpsters closed and bear-proofed (chained or locked shut).
Check please! If your dog is barking, or cat is clawing at the door to get in, try to determine what has alarmed your pet. But do it cautiously, using outside lights to full advantage and from a safe position, such as a porch or an upstairs window. All unrecognizable outside noises and disturbances should be checked, but don’t do it on foot with a flashlight. Black bears blend in too well with nighttime surroundings providing the chance for a close encounter. If bears have been sighted near your home, it is a good practice to turn on a light and check the backyard before taking pets out at night.
“Ideally, we want bears to pass by residential areas without finding a food reward that would cause them to return and become a problem,” Ternent said. “Capturing and moving bears that have become habituated to humans is costly and sometimes ineffective because they can return or continue the same unwanted behavior where released. That is why wildlife agencies tell people that a ‘fed bear is a dead bear.’”
Ternent noted that although bears are no strangers to Pennsylvanians, bears are misunderstood by many.
“Bears should not be feared, nor should they be dismissed as harmless; they simply need to be respected,” Ternent said. He also advised:
Stay Calm. If you see a bear and it hasn’t seen you, leave the area calmly. Talk to the bear while moving away to help it discover your presence. Choose a route that will not intersect with the bear if it is moving.
Get Back. If you have surprised a bear, slowly back away while quietly talking. Face the bear, but avoid direct eye contact. Do not turn and run; rapid movement may be perceived as danger to a bear that is already feeling threatened. Avoid blocking the bear’s only escape route and try to move away from any cubs you see or hear. Do not attempt to climb a tree. A female bear can falsely interpret this as an attempt to get at her cubs, even though the cubs may be in a different tree.
Pay Attention. If a bear is displaying signs of nervousness or discomfort with your presence, such as pacing, swinging its head, or popping its jaws, leave the area. Some bears may bluff charge to within a few feet. If this occurs, stand your ground, wave your arms wildly, and shout at the bear. Turning and running could elicit a chase and you cannot outrun a bear. Bears that appear to be stalking should be confronted and made aware of your willingness to defend by waving your arms and yelling while you continue to back away.
Fight Back. If a bear attacks, fight back as you continue to leave the area. Bears have been driven away with rocks, sticks, binoculars, car keys, or even bare hands.
“Learning about bears and being aware of their habits is a responsibility that comes with living in rural Pennsylvania or recreating in the outdoors,” Ternent said.
Intelligent and curious, black bears are heavy and have short, powerful legs. Adults usually weigh from 200 to 600 pounds, with rare individuals weighing up to 800 pounds. An adult male normally weighs more than an adult female, sometimes twice as much.
Bears may be on the move at anytime, but they’re usually most active during evening and morning hours. Bears are omnivorous, eating almost anything from berries, corn, acorns, beechnuts, or even grass to table scraps, carrion, honey and insects.
More information on black bears is available on the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by selecting on “Hunting,” and then clicking on the black bear photograph.