Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Hand-feeding bears? Baaaad idea!!!

Don't feed the bears!

Authorities in Colorado are looking for two people who were seen hand-feeding cheeseburgers to a trio of dumpster-diving black bears.

The incident occurred at a Burger King restaurant in Eagle. The bears — a sow and her two cubs — were rifling through trash, and their activity drew a crowd. According to witnesses, at least two people approached the bears and hand-fed them burgers.

The full story is here, in the Denver Post.

Feeding bears is illegal in Colorado. Hand-feeding bears is insane. No matter how tame they might appear, bears are large, powerful, unpredictable wild animals. One wrong move could trigger an attack.

It took a similar incident to get bear feeding banned in West Virginia. Bears used to gather at a Cabin Creek trash dump every evening, and folks came out to watch. Some of the people started tossing food to the bears. Eventually, the bears began approaching people, and the people responded by extending their hands and letting the bears take the food from them.

The situation got out of hand one evening when the parents of a baby dipped the baby’s hand in a jar of honey and held the baby’s hand out to let a bear lick the honey off. Someone videotaped the incident. When the video was shown to members of the state Legislature, it took about 12 seconds to get an anti bear-feeding bill drawn up and passed.

Here’s hoping the people who violated the law in the Colorado incident are found and fined.