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Residents with fruit trees warned to take precautions against bears

A Missoula organization is warning residents with fruit trees about how they can attract unwelcome guests.

Tiffany Shepherd has plum, apple, pear and cherry trees in her backyard in the Rattlesnake.

“This was an old orchard field that they would harvest, but lucky enough for us we are able to live here and harvest the fruit from our trees every year,” Shepherd said.

She is not the only one eating the fruit. This time of year bears come into neighborhoods, into people's backyards to eat from fruit trees.

That’s what concerns the Missoula Bears organization, which educates people on how to stay safe while living with wildlife in the valleys around Missoula.

“Bears will find the fruit, they will also find garbage cans and bird feeders. So we ask the people to really bring all that stuff in. Make everything bear resistant right now, because this is the time of year bears are really looking to put on some weight before winter,” Missoula Bears founder Erin Edge said.

But there are ways to stay safe:

  • Pick fruit as it becomes ripe, and remove any fruit on the ground.
  • Store all picked fruit inside a secure building, garage or shed.
  • Electric fencing is very effective at keeping bears out.

“We have had a couple cubs and a mama bear in our trees. They come down usually at night or early in the morning. They will climb he trees or sit in our yard and eat the fruit,” Shepherd said.

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