Black bears, waking up from their hibernation, are hungry and looking for food. So we have a few suggestions on how to avoid luring them into your yard.

As the weather warms, wild animals are on the move, especially bears who have been in hibernation all winter. They're hungry and, with few natural food sources available, looking for anything that looks or smells enticing. So I wanted to share some tips we got from Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Bear Biologist Jen Vashon about how folks can protect their property and themselves.

She says, if you do have a bear in your yard, stay inside and call for help from the police or the Warden Service. And if you need for the bear to leave, make lots of noise, like standing in your door and banging pots and pans. Chances are good, the bear will wander off. Still, make sure to call authorities and report the sighting, so they'll know that there's a bear in the area. For more information, log onto the website for the Maine Department of Fish and Wildlife.

  • Mark Runnacles, Getty Images
    Mark Runnacles, Getty Images

    Take Down Bird Feeders

    Bird seed is a pretty yummy treat to a bear, so Vashon suggests taking down your bird feeders, especially at night. Rake up and dispose of any seed that falls on the ground. And store any remaining seed indoors.

  • Comstock Images, ThinkStock
    Comstock Images, ThinkStock

    Take Care of Garbage

    The smell of your garbage may disgust you, but it's pretty tempting to a hungry bear. Vashon advises keeping your trash in tightly covered cans, and keeping those cans inside a garage or shed. And don't put your trash on the curb the night before collection day.

  • Alexander Shalamov ThinkStock
    Alexander Shalamov ThinkStock

    Barbecue Grill

    The smell of steaks, hamburgers, or anything that you cook on your grill will make a bear's mouth water. So be sure to thoroughly clean your grill after use and, if possible, store it inside the garage or shed. Also remember to pick up any wrappers or containers and dispose of them inside.

  • Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media
    Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media

    Pets and Livestock

    A dish of food for your animals will feel like a trip to a restaurant for a bear. Keep all pet and livestock food inside, and cleanup any uneaten food. You'll also want to keep small livestock behind a fence or in a secure building, especially at night.

  • James Martin, ThinkStock
    James Martin, ThinkStock

    Close Doors Tightly

    You definitely don't want to walk into your garage or shed and meet a bear. So Vashon says it's important to keep those doors closed tightly, locking them, if possible. And keep dumpster lids closed and locked, as well. If you do see a bear in a confined space, she advises backing away slowly. And if it continues to show interest, make yourself look as big as possible and make a lot of noise to try and intimidate them. Never, ever corner a bear!

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