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Families in Bear Country, how do you deal with food waste?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

We are moving to our property in 2 weeks, and as I am cooking bacon, tossing out the hamburger package, and remembering the chicken carcass we composted the other day, I think, "What kinds of problems are we going to be facing?"

 

Bears on our property seem to be somewhat seasonal-- but that could be misleading as we are just seeing the aftermath of their visits.  In all of the 15 years of staying weekends, even an entire month there once, I have never actually seen one.  

 

But......

 

......as the smell of bacon wafts from the window, I think that might just change!

 

What do you do?  Have you had trouble?  Neighbors have trouble?

post #2 of 10

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/general-homesteading-forums/homesteading-questions/242441-how-would-you-dispose-food-waste-bear-country.html

post #3 of 10

Do you still have somewhere to bring the food for municipal pick-up?  We compost veggie scraps and here we have permission to put meat in the actual garbage (precisely because it's bear country).  The only hard thing is that garbage pick-up is every two weeks, here, so sometimes I have to store meat scraps in the fridge or freezer so as not to attract insects.  If there's a lot to deal with (right now we have been producing an unending supply of lobster shell) I get my oldest to bury it way in the back woods (despite it being a not very sensitive place for a grave, we had to do this with two of the dead pets at a certain point, too, when the coyotes were really bad so as not to attract them). 
 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

We could get it waaaaay at the bottom of the road.  Freezer is possible for sure, we'll have a large one.... we were hoping to compost it, but that will depend on the bear trouble--if any.  I suppose we won't have any trouble with bears --until we do!  I worry a little about throwing scraps in the chicken coop as well.

post #5 of 10
We have bear proof trashcans which they have and will destroy to get into trash still. They popped one of our cans open like a cork last summer anand probably weekly during bear season, I go out to it tipped over. All it takes is one time for a mama to teach her baby that your property equals easy food. We are very careful. Do not leave food in cars, windows or sun roofs open. They destroyed a car in my neighborhood last summer. We keep ground floor windows shut at night, we do not use just the screen door on the back door in the evening hours. It is also wise to deadbolt lever style doors, some bears can open those. There have been numerous stories of bears entering houses locally. Garage door gets shut right away, the last thing I want to do to trap a noisy bear in my garage! No food is left out side, I do not compost because of bears, there are enough of them watering by already! After we grill, we turn it up really high to burn off any meat left on. Bird feeders are a huge no no in bear country. For the record I have never seen a bear at my house either, we have been here 5 years. But sometimes during bear season, they do pass by nightly. I can tell by what they have tried to get into. One year, we had one using the side of our house as a scratching post, still never saw him. I do not run at dusk and the kids are only allowed outside then with an adult because they are very active at that time of day.


ETA: if you do not have the bear trashcans with the latches then all smelly or food trash should be stored in a garage, shed or frozen until day of disposal. If the trashcans smells, they will try to get into it even if it is empty. We used to have to hose it down with chemicals constantly.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

That's pretty crazy!  

 

Our neighborhood in general doesn't have problems with the bears, but we are further into the forest and abutting a large wooded area of several hundred acres, and have had more bear signs than the others over the years-- normal, non-human accustomed signs like destroyed fruit trees and excavated bumblebee nests.  (Our property seems to be the highway for elk and coyotes as well.  I think because we have a gentle ravine they can use to climb from the creek in the valley to the top of the hill.)  So, I don't think these bears will start out acclimated to our presence, but I worry we will give them bad habits if I am not careful.  There is garbage, compost, recycling to consider.  Chicken feed.  (Chickens AS feed!)

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

We are moving to our property in 2 weeks, and as I am cooking bacon, tossing out the hamburger package, and remembering the chicken carcass we composted the other day, I think, "What kinds of problems are we going to be facing?"

 

Bears on our property seem to be somewhat seasonal-- but that could be misleading as we are just seeing the aftermath of their visits.  In all of the 15 years of staying weekends, even an entire month there once, I have never actually seen one.  

 

But......

 

......as the smell of bacon wafts from the window, I think that might just change!

 

What do you do?  Have you had trouble?  Neighbors have trouble?

 

We have a cottage in the middle of a huge state forrest.  Like you, I have never seen bears but know they are out there.  We used to take bones, grease, etc. down to the edge of our woods.  One day, the one year-round resident on our road told/asked us to not compost or put out any meat scraps.   He has had bears break through his front door in the past and he said he would appreciate if we didn't "train" the bears to come looking for meat scraps.  Fair enough.  I freeze fat, bones and leftovers to put in the regular trash.  I do compost veggies, fruit and bread scraps. 

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

And you don't have any troubles with the non-meat food in the compost where you are?

 

This is probably a bit like keeping deer from eating the garden:  what works absolutely in one area is not a deterrent in another.  

 

I'd like to be able to compost all compostables if I can, including meat, but that might be wishful thinking.

 

Without an existing problem in front of you (like known bear problems at neighbor's houses), how bold would you be?

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

And you don't have any troubles with the non-meat food in the compost where you are?

 

 

I don't have a "real" compost area.  What I do is take the veggie peelings, apple cores, lettuce, etc. and spread it out at the edge of our grass, where the woods start.  We are only there on the weekends and often it doesn't look like any animal bothered it. 

 

How bold would I be without knowing how they can bust down doors?  I don't know.  How big is your property?  Can you have the compost far from the house?  The problem is once they find a food source, they will remember it.  Then you run the risk of creating a nuisance beer and one that will tear your composite pile apart.  Our other neighbors have burn barrels and burn pits and they say the bears are constantly rooting around them. 

post #10 of 10
Quote:

And you don't have any troubles with the non-meat food in the compost where you are?

 

This is probably a bit like keeping deer from eating the garden:  what works absolutely in one area is not a deterrent in another.  

 

I'd like to be able to compost all compostables if I can, including meat, but that might be wishful thinking.

 

Without an existing problem in front of you (like known bear problems at neighbor's houses), how bold would you be?

 

 

I have dealt with others that did not think much of how they "composted" and this does mean bears as well, I can tell you if you think you are only attracting bears you really have a lot of thinking to do!

 

Not only bears eat this but you are inviting lotS of others too and they cause major problems- raccoons can cause $$$$$ worth of damage not to mention who else might come around.

Some people think nothing of bringing in non-native wood (to season for burning) to an area- this can bring non-native insects that travel miles and cause major damage- so it is not just food scraps- what your neighbor is doing will effect you----even miles away.

 

Contact your county or state wildlife association for help. Most states have help in this area and will tell you what else you may encounter in your area.

 

PLEASE do not put out meat scraps/bones and if you are "composting" veggie scraps do that the proper way as well- it will be a benefit to you and the nature you want to enjoy or you wouldn't be living where you want to.

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