LEICESTER, Mass. – The Leicester Police Department is advising residents to take precautions after it received several calls reporting bears in close proximity to area homes the past 24 hours.
According to Police Chief Jim Hurley, these reports include sightings on Charlton Street, Leela Lane and Burncoat Lane.
Hurley said bear sightings in Leicester are fairly common during the spring and fall seasons.
"This year will likely be no different so based on the high likelihood that bear sightings will continue, the LPD thought it would be a good idea to put out a few tips on what residents can do around their homes to deter encounters with bears," Hurley said.
1. Do not Feed Bears. Keep the “wild” in “wildlife”. Bears which become accustomed to humans and dependent on human-associated foods are likely to cause property damage and become a nuisance. Sometimes it places the bear in jeopardy of being destroyed because it is no longer afraid of people.
2. Take down bird feeders before April 1 and put them back up in late November or early December. In mild winters, some bears may be active year-round. Do not leave pet food outside at any time of year.
3. Secure trash in closed containers in a garage or other outbuilding. Put trash barrels out the morning of trash pick up, not the previous evening. Businesses and campgrounds in bear country should consider using bear-proof dumpsters.
4. Beekeepers should use temporary or permanent electric fences to safeguard hives. Electric fences are most effective when put up before the first damage occurs.
5. Protect orchards and crops. Temporary electric fencing may be used to protect corn and other crops. Seven-strand slanted non-electric fences have been used to keep bears out of orchards. Contact local bear hunters to for the early September bear season to hunt the fields.
6. Protect Livestock. Whenever possible, pen livestock in or near the barn at night, especially pregnant females and those with small young.
If you see a bear and have any concerns, please contact the Leicester Police Department immediately.
For more information on bears from Mass.gov, click here.