Black bear visits downtown Sonora

Posted Apr 23, 2013 by Gar Swaffar
Spring has fully sprung in the California foothills and nature is taking its course. For the City of Sonora that also means visits by less than welcome guests.
Black bear
Black bear
Yesterday evening around 9:00 p.m. in the city of Sonora, a black bear was sighted, ambling along as if he had not a care in the world. Sonora is in the foothills region of California, and we're not really strangers to the wildlife which lives in such close proximity to the downtown area.
Finding a deer or two walking by City Hall or through Courthouse Square early in the morning isn't really a novelty. Raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and the occasional bobcat strolling through when all is quiet is common enough, however, bears are not a common sight here.
The Sonora Police department reported the bear in question was on the southern edge of the city near the fairgrounds, along Southgate Road. The bear didn't cause any real trouble, with the possible exception of a few very nervous residents making sure their dogs were inside out of harms way.
Despite Brer Bear making fast tracks for the wooded area above the fairgrounds after he was spotted, the Sonora Police Department is advising all residents in the City of Sonora to make sure they adhere to some common sense precautions.
1) Garbage cans/receptacles: Be sure to keep the lids on your garbage cans, don't leave garbage bags loose in the backs of trucks or trailers. (some residents don't use the local trash service, but haul their own garbage to the transfer stations)
2) Compost piles: Do not use a compost pile for meat by-products, such as fish or steak bones, nor egg shells, dairy products, or fruit. The key to these being the smell which would be the attraction.
3) Barbeques: That barbeque which is both so much fun and so tasty in the summer when enjoyed on your deck is also a big draw for Brer Bear. Bears are drawn to the scent of the odors left in the barbeque after you're finished cooking. Best choice is to allow all of the meat residue to burn off the grille after the supper is removed. Also, a good idea is to clean the barbeque immediately after use, to eliminate as much as possible any odors to draw a bear to your deck.
4) Bird Feeders: The wild bird seed in a bird feeder is one of the treats a bear just waking up from a winter long nap would love to munch on. The smell of sunflower seeds, and the various grains would be just like finding a very tasty granola bar waiting to be eaten.
All in all, the presence of the wild critters we live with in the foothills can be both a joy and a bit of trouble on occasion. An important concept to keep in mind though, is that the wild animals need to stay wild to stay healthy. Especially for bears, the temptation to lounge about and become nothing more than a scavenger is an invitation, and that invitation is, to become a nuisance which would likely have to moved or destroyed.