What do bears eat?

dighappy(z7 NJ)June 7, 2004

Hopefully not the gardner! Yes, they are here in South Jersey....a momma with cub was sighted in Williamstown crossing 322 around 9:00am on Friday. This was confirmed by the local police who sent a patrol car to check it out and almost ran one over when it ran in front of his patrol car. DH was also told by another officer today that they believe there is a family of bear living in some state land right behind our property. Hopefully this situation does not end up like what is going on up in north Jersey. Those poor people can't even sit on their decks to enjoy their yard and garden without checking for bear first. Hopefully, they won't destroy all our hard work in the yard and garden and we can co-exist with no serious incidents. I know that this is not something I thought we would have to deal with when we moved to Monroe Township....all we wanted to do was have space for our horses, plant gardens and have more privacy. Thanks for listening.....hopefully, when I go out to check on the horses each night "Ben" (hopefully gentle ben) will not be hanging around looking for a snack.

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While they are NOT cute and cuddly, bears will not bother you if you don't bother them and use some common sense. I live in West Milford where most of the ruckus about bears started and we often have bears come through our property. They seem to be like deer and always follow the same path. Bear are vegetarians, they don't want you for a snack. Don't leave your garbage out, no bird feeders, and don't look 'em in the eye (just like with dogs, thats a challenge)We still enjoy our deck and the bears do no damage to my gardens. Now the squirrels and rabbits and chipmunks and ground hog are another matter. I figure they were here first and I was the one who moved to the country, so I have to expect a little wildlife.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 3:41PM
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Dana, bears are omnivores although they lean toward the herbivore side of the food chain.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 1:15PM
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Thanks for the info. I guess I just assumed based on what I know they do eat .

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 9:37AM
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Couldn't resist.

Q: What do bears eat?
A: Anything they want.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2004 at 2:18AM
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billhoo(7 va)

If you ever walk through the woods and find a dead deer with only it's thighs eaten, tht's the work of a bear. they don't like the rest of the deer. Just the thighs.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 8:19AM
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Hi! I'm originally from Wanaque, NJ (transplanted in Huntsville, Alabama).

Bears generally do NOT want any part of you, but to back Dana up - they LOVE garbage. They also love fruits and berries (i.e. raspberries, blackberries, currants, so if you grow them, you might expect "company".

If they are hungry - they will look for food wherever they can find it...

Bears that have access to parks and state lands that are hiked by people are more "people tolerant" than "wild" bears. During mating season, when they are with their young, or just on a "Bad Hair Day", they tend to be more aggressive.

As long as you stay out of their way (just don't invite them to dinner), you should be fine.

Black bears don't tend to bother horses... (grizzlies are different, but you don't need to worry about that.)

If you are really concerned - getting a dog will help. Bears will shy away from a dog before it will attack it.

I have personally come across wild bears two different times while hiking up by Clinton Road in Northern Jersey. Once was in the summer (July) and once was in early October. Each time, the bear was by itself. Each time, I thought I "smelled" something before I actually saw the bear. (I must have been up wind from him/her.) Both times - the bear was WAY MORE FRIGHTENED of me than I was frightened of it - and it ran off with a "huffy snort". After each sighting, I started "singing" nice and loud, just to let the bear know where I was and to scare it off. (If my singing doesn't scare it - nothing will!) (smile)

Lastly - bears are beautiful animals. Try reading up on them to understand them better. Knowledge is power. As people continue to encroach on their domains, wildlife will lose "wild lands". You have the opportunity to enjoy something "unique" and "fleeting".

Please let us know if there are any further sightings...

Meadow Lark

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 12:37PM
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rothwood(z7 NJ)

If you live in NJ and have been following the papers - you know that bears also like to snack on horses - a few weeks back a small pony was killed and dragged out of the corral, and up a hill. Unless there is a Sasquatch in NJ, it was probably a bear. Bears are opportunists - they eat mostly vegetation, but will take fawns, farm animals, and they love to kick over beehives to get to the larvae and honey.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 4:35PM
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The bears must be getting mighty hungry & running out of food!

(There is a big difference between a "small pony" and a horse.) My pony is a mini-welsh cross, about the size of a Great Dane. Certainly, a tastey treat for any bear... even a black bear.

Here is rural Alabama, some ponies (as well as older/slower horses) have been lost to packs of dogs.

Either way, I'd vote for the Sasquatch... or in South Jersey... The Jersey Devil!


    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 5:28PM
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ofionnachta(z6 WNJ)

That pony was a miniature horse, one of those Argentine things. A couple of years ago a bear killed a very young baby in NY state who was (foolishly) left in his stroller outside the front door---I'll bet with a bottle, too. In early spring, before the plant material is really out, bears will tend more to the carnie, and they will come back to where they have found food before, so people should either quit feeding the birds, or move the bird feeders out of their reach, at least 8' high. We put ours on a pulley atached to the branch we had formerly merely hung it from.
One came through three towns in Mercer Co. the other day, eating seed from feeders. When he got into Trenton, they trapped him & drove him off to farther parts. He was just getting too close to too many people.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 1:46PM
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Donna534(z6 NJ)

If you have bird feeders, take them down in the spring. They attract bears.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 4:05PM
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