Boise area residents are being alerted to possible black bear encounters in the Treasure Valley, as there might be more black bears rummaging through the Boise Foothills as we transition from Summer to Fall.

Although black bear encounters aren't an everyday event, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has noted a recent increase of sightings. These bears are foraging for food, given the dwindling natural resources in the surrounding mountains and foothills.

How many black bears are there in Idaho?

According to IDFG, there are an estimated 20,000-30,000 black bears in Idaho foothills. That's a number that would surprise most Idahoans and Boise locals, and we were not expecting that.

It's this time of year when black bears start to prepare for their winter hibernation, and they are in a heavy search for food. There have been multiple instances where black bears were spotted rummaging through neighborhood dumpsters etc.

To protect our communities, as well as the bears, follow these essential safety tips:

• Remove bird feeders (recommended between April and November)
• Feed your pets inside, and supervise your pets when they're outside
• Get bear-resistant trash cans and use them only as directed (do not tamper with them)
• Do not keep coolers, refrigerators, or freezers outside

Lastly, if a bear has already visited your place and found food, take the above steps right away, because the bear will likely come back a few more times to look for food. If there's no food, it will eventually move on.

Boise Residents can report bear problems to the Nampa Fish and Game location at 208-465-8465

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