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Bears begin to enter residential neighborhoods as spring season commences

Western Mass News spoke with someone who lost one of her ducks this morning, and we brought questions to animal control to find out how unusual this is.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 7:34 PM EDT
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AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - One woman had a frightening experience in Agawam Tuesday morning when a bear showed up at a house and took aim at some ducks.

Western Mass News spoke with someone who lost one of her ducks this morning, and we brought questions to animal control to find out how unusual this is.

“Terrible. I mean, how do you feel when you lose your animals? Awful,” said Sharon Conte of Agawam.

Conte, who chose not to appear on camera, woke up to a commotion in her backyard Tuesday morning. A bear appeared on her property, killing one of her ducks.

“They’re not getting into these chicken coops and duck pens to purposefully kill these things,” said Agawam Animal Control Officer Allison Strong. “I think they’re going in after the eggs, they’re going in after the feed.”

Strong told Western Mass News that while the bears are not after your animals, they can sniff out an easy meal.

“We have easy food sources around our homes now for bears,” Strong explained. “We have things like chicken coops, we have compost piles, more people were gardening during COVID, unsecured trash.”

So why did Conte lose one of her eight prized ducks?

“They’re probably getting a swat here and there, and we know that bears will eat things that are dead,” Strong told us.

She said that bears’ keen sense of smell can keep them coming back throughout the season, which Strong said is just getting started. So how can you protect your animals?

“Electrify things like apiaries, chicken coops,” she suggested. “Keep the feed locked up tight in closed containers.”

She also recommended checking your local ordinances to make sure your coop or pen is in compliance.

“This is part of why those bylaws are in place: to keep wildlife away from residential areas,” Strong said.

For more information, find out how to properly safeguard your yard or set up an electric fence here.