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Bear, deer activity on rise in fall across Forsyth County

Bear tips

Land and homeowners can help reduce the number of human-bear interactions this fall by taking some important steps:

* Convert the bear-proof garbage containers, or secure garbage inside a garage or other enclosed area

* Place garbage cans at the curb on the day of pick-up rather than the night before. If there is no curbside pick-up in your area, take garbage to the nearest disposal site as soon as possible

* In some cases, installing an electric fence around garbage storage areas may be useful to prevent bears from accessing household garbage

* Remove food scraps from grills and fire pits daily

* Rinse food cans and wrappers before disposal. Keep garbage cans clean and periodically deodorize them

* Concerning Dumpsters, install bear-proof trash bins, attach reinforcing lids or install latch mechanisms

* If you have small livestock or other animals on your property, installation of electric fencing may help deter bears from harassing animals or eating the food intended for livestock

* Put away bird feeders and if feeding pets outdoors, ensure that bowls are removed when the pet is done eating


Source: Georgia DNR

FORSYTH COUNTY — As fall sets in, motorists may notice leaves changing colors and a chill in the air. But for animals like deer and bears, it is a time to be on the move and prepare for winter.

With that in mind, public safety officials have issued warnings and safety tips for encountering such on-the-move animals, whether along roads or at home.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, bears prepare to den up for the winter by seeking large quantities of high-fat food to get them through the colder months.

“This activity has recently intensified, especially in north Georgia, as the mast crop — or the natural foods that bear eat, such as berries, fruits, acorns, etc. — was a little lighter this year,” said Adam Hammond, state bear biologist for the division. “… Bears are working harder to find adequate amounts of food … and [that] may result in turning to alternate non-natural food sources.”

Residents can discourage visits from bears by securing garbage cans and putting away bird feeders, among other options.

Bears are not the only animal Forsyth County residents may encounter this fall. It’s also the prime breeding season for deer, which increases the chances they may dart into the road, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.

Researchers completed a county-by-county analysis of when motorists should be more aware of possibly hitting a deer. Forsyth and surrounding counties Hall and Gwinnett share the Nov. 10-16 peak deer movement week.

Researchers looked at breeding data and compared it to deer-vehicle collision statistics throughout the state.

According to the study, between 2005-12 there were 45,811 reported deer-vehicle collisions across all Georgia counties.

These collisions increase during “rutting season” because white-tailed deer move around a lot more looking for mates, according to James Stickles, lead researcher on the project.

On the map created by Stickles and other researchers, each of Georgia’s 159 counties has a specific peak date.

“Now we can warn drivers in a more relevant time frame than in the past,” he said.

There are ways motorists can avoid hitting a deer, said Bob Warren, a professor at UGA and one of the researchers.

Deer are mostly active from dusk to dawn, so that is when the risk of a collision is greater.

“Any motorist driving at night needs to be especially cautious because deer will be more active [then],” he said.

People who drive at night also should be cautious about their speeds and should scan both sides of the road.

“Deer are rarely alone,” he said. “If a motorist sees one deer, look for the second one. In many instances, it’s the second deer that crosses the road that gets hit.”