Being bear aware: Anchorage bears begin emerging after hibernation

Being bear aware: Anchorage bears begin emerging after hibernation
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 8:57 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Danny Moss was talking on the phone last month when he noticed something peculiar in his backyard.

“I saw this black (thing) and I thought it was fur,” said Moss, an Anchorage resident. “And the first thing I thought was, ‘Oh, my neighbor’s dog has jumped the fence.’”

Then he began to notice the black fur slowly rise, and what he thought was a dog soon turned out to be a black bear, over six feet tall, wandering around his closed-fenced yard.

“When I lived at King Salmon, I was around coast brown bears quite a bit and I was way more surprised by seeing this black bear than I was any bear I saw out in King Salmon,” Moss said.

Early spring, especially April and May, tends to be when the Alaska Department of Fish and Game sees both brown and black bears awake from hibernation. But some bears don’t wait that long to awake from their long slumber.

“We get a few reports of bears coming out of dens in March,” said Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Tim Spivey.

Spivey said bears emerging from hibernation demonstrate different personalities: Some might appear lethargic while others might be full of energy and looking for food.

Now is a critical time of year that Alaskans to take precautions and start making their property and bear aware and prepared.

“It’s best for the public to start putting away bird feeders,” Spivey said. “Make sure there’s no attractants outside and available for bears to get into.”