CDFW News | Secure Food, Trash, and Other Summer Attractions: Keep Tahoe Bears Wild!

Secure food, trash, and other summer attractions: keep Tahoe Bears wild!

***Interagency Lake Tahoe Basin news release***

Summer is a tough time for bears.

With the green grass dying and the fruit not yet ripe enough to eat, the black bear roams around in search of simple food. This means there are many things to consider when living, visiting, or recreationally in the Lake Tahoe Basin during this time of year.

Food for barbecues and picnic tables can bring curious bears to your neighborhood or campground to investigate, so it’s very important to practice proper food storage at all times.

Do not leave food unattended. Attractants left behind become accessible to bears and can be food rewards. This tricks the bear into thinking it’s okay to return for future visits and rely on humans for food. to chase away bears.

If you can’t get rid of the bear, other people will help you. In national forests, campground organizers or employees may be able to assist with relocating bears and securing attractants. Similarly, park rangers are often available to help at California state park facilities. If you’re in a residential area, call 911 and ask a trained local sheriff to come and help keep bears away from the facility.

Bears love barbecue. If you’ve used a barbecue, any leftover grease or food on the grill can be a delicious treat for a hungry bear. , burns off the remaining food waste to make it unappealing to passing bears. Be sure to clean all food and put trash in safe wildlife resistant containers or bear boxes. Do not put food or garbage in the car. A bear invades.

Here’s the gist: It is not natural or healthy for bears to scavenge human food and garbage. This can damage your nails, teeth and digestive system. It is illegal to feed bears, intentionally or not. Do your part to obey the law and prevent bears from accessing human food and garbage. Human-sourced food prevents bears from participating in natural ecosystems. Natural ecosystems rely on bears to sow native species, control insects, and clean up dead animals. A healthy, wild bear means a healthy, wild ecosystem.

Here are some seasonal tips for summer.

Visitors to Home Rental: When the bear box is full, take your trash home with you. Do not leave it near the bear box. The bear will get into the trash before it is picked up and get a food reward.

Business description: Always lock trash cans, even during the day when employees may access them frequently. If trash bins are overflowing, businesses must make every effort to empty them or find another safe place to dispose of excess trash.

Campers: Bears can approach you at any time of the day. Do not leave food or trash outside the bear box unless it is used in close proximity. Please diligently follow all campsite rules regarding food storage.

Bathers: Care must be taken when bringing food onto the beach and trash must be disposed of properly. When your anti-bear bin is full, take it home with you to keep the bears away.

Warm summer days and cool nights in the Tahoe Basin make us all want to open the windows and let in the mountain air. Asian black bears have a keen sense of smell and like to open windows and doors. It is very important to close all windows when you are away from home or sleeping at night.

Bears know when humans are active or present, and take advantage of that quiet time to enter homes through windows and doors and access kitchens for simple food. Likewise, it is wise to lock the door. Some bears know how to open doors and locking them is the only way to keep them out of your home.

Life and recreation in bear country in the Lake Tahoe Basin is a year-round responsibility. Do your part to keep Tahoe’s bears wild and healthy.

Other full-year bear measures include:

  • Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife often causes animal-human conflicts and draws wildlife into human homes and neighborhoods, where they can be hit by vehicles or encounter other human dangers. I have.
  • Store all trash in a bear-proof trash container, preferably a bear box, and properly closed. Contact your local waste disposal company for new bare-box incentives and payment programs. In California, visit South Tahoe Refuse & Recycling Services for information and resources. Nevada residents should check out the Living with Bears resource at the Nevada Wildlife Service (NDOW).
  • Do not leave food, animal feed, garbage, or scented items in your car, campsite, or tent.
  • Always lock your vehicle and close the windows. Realize that eating or drinking coffee in your car often leaves a odor that attracts bears.
  • Keep your barbecue grill clean and store it in your garage or storeroom when not in use.
  • Close and lock doors and windows when no one is home.
  • Vegetable gardens, compost piles, fruit trees, and chickens can attract bears. Use electric fencing wherever you can prevent bears from entering. Avoid hanging bird feeders.
  • When camping, store food (including pet food), beverages, toiletries, coolers, cleaned grills, cleaned dishes, cleaning supplies, and all other scented items in the bear-proof container provided at the campsite. Store in a container (storage locker/bare box). Bear coolers equipped with a padlock device must always be locked to meet bear resistance requirements.
  • Garbage must be placed in a campsite bear-resistant trash can or campsite bear-resistant container (storage locker/bear box) that must be closed and locked after use.
  • Store food in bear-proof, hard-sided food storage canisters while recreating in the backcountry.
  • Give space to wildlife. Enjoy wildlife from afar. Especially if you have young animals.

To report a human-bear conflict in California, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) at (916) 358-2917 or visit CDFW’s Wildlife Service at Please report online using the Biological Incident Reporting (WIR) system. Non-emergency wildlife interactions on California State Park property may be reported to Public Dispatch at (916) 358-1300. To report a human-bear conflict in Nevada, call NDOW at (775) 686-BEAR (2327). If the problem is a direct threat or an emergency, call 911 and seek immediate help from local law enforcement.

For more information on how to live peacefully with bears, visit

Media contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858

Courtesy of the Nevada Wildlife Service.

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