Secure your trash to protect Indiana’s roaming black bear

INDIANA – The black bear seen in Vanderburgh, Daviess, and Pike counties has been getting into garbage. If trash or recycling containers are accessible, the bear could start to associate people’s homes with a place to find food. To protect the bear and your personal property, DNR encourages residents in southwest Indiana to secure trash, recycling, and other possible food sources.

  • Store garbage cans and recycling containers inside a garage or shed.
  • Put garbage cans and recycling containers on the curb the morning of pick-up rather than the previous night. 
  • Avoid putting meats, sweets, bones, or grease in compost piles. 
  • Remove or secure other potential food sources for bears, such as livestock feed or pet food.

Bears can become sick and even die from eating garbage. If the bear begins to actively seek food near people’s homes, DNR may need to use deterrents (airhorns, spotlights, etc.) to protect both the bear and people. These practices are stressful for the bear. Residents can help DNR avoid needing to use these tactics by removing potential food sources.