by National Gardening Association Editors
In bear country, these lumbering creatures can cause extensive damage to berry patches and gardens, and can be a threat to people if crossed. Although they are considered inhabitants of rural, mountainous, wilderness areas, bears are being seen more frequently in forested suburban areas throughout the country. Yes, Yogi Bear is smarter than the average bear. Bears are known to rummage through trash cans, raid beehives, bird feeders, munch berries, sweet corn, and melon plantings, and even attack pets. They tend to feed at dawn and dusk, gorging themselves in the garden and quickly ruining an entire crop.
Since they can be dangerous creatures, exclusion is the best way to protect your garden. Don't leave pet food outdoors, secure garbage cans, keep compost piles away from the house, and use motion detectors that engage loud music or flashing lights to scare bears off. Only electric fencing can reliably keep a bear out of the garden, though a very hungry bear may plow through despite shocks.
Photograph by David Akoubian, courtesy of David Liebman