Bear-trapping effort in Orono ends

With one bear successfully relocated and no other bears visiting two culvert traps that had been deployed in the Orono area, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife removed those traps late last week.

Lisa Bates, a bear crew member for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, reaches into a hollow tree to retrieve one of four bears that were found in an Orono man's backyard over the weekend. The bears were examined and fitted with ear tags, then returned to their den. (BDN photo by John Holyoke)

Lisa Bates, a bear crew member for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, reaches into a hollow tree to retrieve one of four bears that were found in an Orono man’s backyard over the weekend. The bears were examined and fitted with ear tags, then returned to their den. (BDN photo by John Holyoke)

Maine Game Warden Jim Fahey said the bears had stopped visiting a Veazie property that had been targeted because of the beehives on the grounds.

“We [trapped there] for about a week,” Fahey said. “And for a week there was no more conflict at that property where the beehives were.”

It didn’t take long — just a matter of hours — before a bear again visited the unprotected hives.

“Wouldn’t you know, that night the bear got into the beehives,” Fahey said.

Fahey would normally tell a homeowner to remove the attractant so that bears don’t visit. In this case, that wasn’t an option. But he said the homeowner has since invested in an electric fence around the hives, and has not had any problem.

But the bears are still around, Fahey said.

“I had five bear complaints Sunday morning when I arrived at work, from Orono, Veazie and Hermon.”

The potential bear problem in Orono became apparent in March, when a homeowner found a mother bear and three cubs living in a hollow tree just off busy Stillwater Avenue. Those bears, game wardens later learned, had been fed by some area residents the previous year, and likely associated humans with easily accessible food.

After the bears left that den, the problems began, as two cubs — likely the two females — and their mother traveled through the area looking for food.

The adult female bear was eventually trapped in late June and was relocated to a site in Aroostook County. Her two female yearling cubs were not caught, and likely remain in the area.

Fahey said that bears are typically more of a nuisance earlier in the year, before natural foods become prevalent.

“When natural foods come on, they’ll decrease,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean people should become unwise.”

 

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John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.