It is late November and the black bears should be in their beds by now.
If you are a bird lover in bear country, now is the time you can bring out food and water for birds without it getting in the paws of a black bear. Be sure to stop feeding in March before the bears are out and about again. In summer, birds have food but need water. Keep water away from the house if you have black bears.
There have been a lot of bear stories this year from all over the US about bears attacking humans. It seems bears are hungry.
Bears feed heavily on the acorn crop before they hibernate. I have several trees protected from mule deer depredation hoping they get big enough to provide more mast for bears and other mammals. The better they eat in the fall, the more deeply they hibernate. I sure do not want a hungry bear prowling around my garden when it wakes up a couple months early, starving and ill humored because it did not get enough calories in the fall.
This was why the bear that got caught in a late snowstorm last winter took refuge in my shed. I did not have that bear darted and moved because most of them die after removal. He was scared off and so far so good.
Late fruits like apples attract bear before hibernation, especially when they can’t tank up on acorns, which are high in fat. Apples are high in sugar, and are a second choice for bears. My best bet to protect my apples is a good acorn crop. Better get more production from those silly oak shrubs For every apple tree in production, I guess I will need two oak trees producing at the same time.
Persimmon, on the other hand, is a bear candy store. I am not even sure electric fencing would keep bear or other wildlife off a persimmon. Still, if there are persimmon trees, like in Texas, I always managed to collect enough to suit me. An American Persimmon would likely distract black bear from my apple trees; however I am pretty sure they will distract me from the apple trees, too.
My general experience in eating from woodlands is to take what I need to eat and there has always been enough food. As in seed collection, I don’t take more than 10 percent. I have never attempted to stop wildlife from eating, and I grew up eating wildlife… again, in moderation. I try not to kill more plants or animals than I can eat and allow time for reproduction. I prefer eating parts of plants in a way that doesn’t destroy the plant unless I have a large number of the plants or it is an annual.
Perhaps the most basic difference between my circular economy Food Forest and farming is that I don’t believe that I need to eat or sell every edible on the place. Most farmers get tied up in knots trying to destroy other lives. Enter Monsanto.