Recreation

Wildlife Safety

 

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Before you go into the forest, know what you're getting into. Be prepared so you won't be surprised. This page not only contains detailed info about safety around wild animals and insects in the forest, but will also raise awareness of potential threats or hazards around water, weather, and more.

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Additional information about bears and other wildlife is available from the Center for Wildlife Information.

REMEMBER!

From March 1 through May 31, bear-proof canisters are required if you camp on the Appalachian Trail between Jarrard Gap and Neels Gap. Read the Forest Supervisor's Order and see a map.

As fascinating as wild animals are, they are unpredictable and can be dangerous. If you see a wild animal of any kind, you should avoid direct interaction with it. The following tips come from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Forest Service. They are written specifically regarding black bears, but are also pertinent to other wildlife too. Following them will help protect you from a potentially unpleasant experience as well as protecting the wildlife.
 

DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS

Hamburgers. Hot Dogs. Fried Chicken. Fruit.
Granola Bars. Peanut Butter.
These substances are dangerous to bears and other wildlife.

Here in the North Georgia Mountains, we have a growing, healthy bear population and it is important that you store your food and dispose of your trash properly, as well as never, ever, feed the wildlife. Why? One person feeding bears either intentionally or unintentionally can create a problem or nuisance bear for you or other visitors. Fed bears cease to look for food in the wild and will seek out human related food items, including leftover garbage. As a result, these garbage bears associate food with humans and become nuisance bears that may have to be removed or put to death. This applies to all wild animals. The good news is that we can prevent most problems by just doing the following:

Around residences or cabins:

  1. Never leave food or garbage outside. Store garbage in bear-proof containers or containers in secure areas such as a garage, basement, or shed.
  2. Discontinue feeding birds between, April and November.
  3. Take pet food indoors at night.
  4. Clean and store grills when not in use. Do not pour cooking grease or throw good scraps outside.

While Camping:

  1. Secure all food, toothpaste, soap and trash at night or when not in use by:
    • Storing items inside a vehicle.
    • using bear proof storage systems when available.
  2. Do NOT cook or store food in or near your tent. Odors attract bears.

In Backcountry:

  1. Use bear-proof storage systems (ex. cable systems along the Appalachian Trail) when available.
    REMEMBER! From March 1 through May 31, bear-proof canisters are required if you camp on the Appalachian Trail between Jarrard Gap and Neels Gap. Read the Forest Supervisor's Order and see a map.
  2. Hang smellables at least 10 feet from the ground and 4 feet away from the nearest tree trunk or limb.

If your see a bear, make sure it is aware of your presence by yelling or making noises - this should frighten the bear and encourage it to leave.

PROHIBITED ON NATIONAL FOREST LANDS:

  • Placing, leaving, or depositing any food, bait or refuse in a manner likely to attract or concentrate any wildlife, whether for hunting or viewing animals.
  • Failure to properly store food or refuse to prevent access by wildlife.




https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/conf/recreation/?cid=fsm9_029249&width=full