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Bears fattening up for the winter: Tips for reducing human-bear issues

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Sept. 25, 2015) –At this time of year, bears are preparing to den up for the winter, and in order to do so, are seeking large quantities of high-fat food to get them through the long, cold months.
“Bears are going through a stage called hyperphagia where they are loading up on food to prepare for the winter,” said Adam Hammond, state bear biologist for the Wildlife Resources Division.  “This activity has recently intensified, especially in north Georgia, as the mast crop - or the natural foods that bears eat, such as berries, fruits, acorns, etc. - was a little lighter this year and bears are working harder to find adequate amounts of food.  This may result in bears turning to alternate non-natural food sources to supplement their food supply.”
What can you do to help?  Landowners, homeowners and business owners in areas where bears have been sighted can help reduce human-bear issues by taking these important steps:
-          Convert to bear-proof garbage containers, or secure garbage inside a garage or other enclosed area.
-          Place garbage cans at the curb on the day of pick-up rather than the night before. If there is no curbside pick-up in the area, take garbage to the nearest disposal site as soon as possible.
-          In some cases, installing an electric fence around garbage storage areas may be useful to prevent bears from accessing household garbage.
-          Remove food scraps from grills and fire pits daily.
-          Rinse food cans and wrappers before disposal. Keep garbage cans clean and periodically deodorize them.
-          Concerning dumpsters, install bear-proof trash bins, attach reinforcing lids or install latch mechanisms.
-          If you have small livestock or other animals on your property, installation of electric fencing may help deter bears from harassing animals or eating the food intended for livestock.
-          Put away bird feeders and if feeding pets outdoors, ensure that bowls are removed when pet is done eating.
“Homeowners, residents, visitors and those who value Georgia wildlife can help keep bears wild by removing all potential sources of food. Whether intentional or not, the result is the same as once bears find food, it is an open invitation to return again and again,” said Hammond.  “Annually, most bear activity winds down in the fall as acorns become available, however, when acorns are scarce, bears tend to be on the move later in the year.”
Georgia boasts a healthy statewide bear population, with the highest density of bears located in the north Georgia mountains.
The black bear is the only bear found in the state. Though now considered the most common bear in North America, the species was nearly eradicated from Georgia by the 1930s due to large-scale habitat loss, poaching and unregulated market hunting.  Sound wildlife management practices have restored Georgia’s black bears to a sustainable level.
For information regarding black bears, visit or contact a Wildlife Resources Division Game Management office. The public also can visit their local library to check out a copy of an informational DVD entitled, “Where Bears Belong: Black Bears in Georgia.”

GDOT to mow Hwy 136, 136 Conn. and other Northwest Georgia highways

 WHAT        Georgia DOT’s maintenance crews are set to work this week on mowing the roadsides of State Route (SR) 140 and SR 3/US 41 in Bartow County, SR 16 in Carroll County, SR 100 in
                    Chattooga County, SR 372 and SR 369 in Cherokee County, SR 58 in Dade County, SR 60 in Fannin County, SR 156 and SR 1 in Floyd County, SR 225 and SR 2 in Murray County, SR 136
                    and SR 136 Connector in Pickens County, SR 120 in Polk County, and SR 189 and SR 58 in Walker County.  Work will proceed daily between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., weather
         The Georgia DOT maintains more than 750,000 acres of highway right-of-way. That amounts to a lot of grass to mow, brush and weeds to control, and land to maintain. Some of this roadside
         land is located in the medians of divided highways and the interiors of interchanges. GDOT has developed a responsive roadside management program that benefits many. Some of the major
         benefits of this program include fewer accidents by GDOT mowers on dangerous slopes; reduced mowing saves money for tax payers and GDOT; pleasing roadside appearance; less erosion of
         roadsides; and restricts growth of unwanted vegetation. GDOT spends approximately $44 million annually on mowing and litter pickup. It is done for safety, vegetation control, improved
         drainage, and aesthetic reasons.
WHEN:        Monday, September 28 through Thursday, October 1, 2015 from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
WHERE      Bartow County: SR 140 and SR 3
                    Carroll County: SR 16
                    Chattooga County: SR 100
                    Cherokee County:  SR 372 and SR 369
                    Dade County: SR 58
                    Fannin County: SR 60
                    Floyd County:  SR 156 and SR 1
                    Murray County: SR 225 and SR 2
                    Pickens County: SR 136 and SR 136 Connector
                    Polk County: SR 120
                    Walker County:  SR 189 and SR 58

Moto Mountain Park reopening date pushed back


Moto Mountain, a large off-road park, announced a temporary closing in July for a “major motion picture” shoot. The park has yet to reopen, leaving riders concerned. The Progerss spoke with owner C.B. Jones, who said the park will reopen later this year. See full story in this week's print or online editions

Mr. and Miss PHS announced


Suzy Price / Photo

Mr. and Miss PHS, Tucker Green and Sydney Romine were announced along with the rest of the Pickens High court Friday at the Dragons home game. Suzy Price / Photo

The PHS Court was presented last Friday night before the home football game at Pickens High School. Those on court were selected through votes by PHS seniors, and then a second vote was taken to select Mr. and Miss PHS (Tucker Green and Sydney Romine) from the people on the court.