With black bears found in 43 states and much of Canada, chances are that you’ll be building in bear country. Taking some simple precautions will reduce the chances you’ll wake up one morning and find a bear on your deck – or in your kitchen. Do your homework before you break ground, and you can locate, design, build and landscape in ways that will discourage bears.

Eau de garbage is a heady perfume a bear’s super sensitive nose can detect from miles away. Some thought about what you’re going to do with your trash can prevent a lot of problems – for you and the bears.

Whether you’ll have curbside pickup or will take your garbage to a community dumpster or landfill, you’ll need a secure place to stash it in between. A room with no exterior doors or windows is ideal. If you plan to keep trash in the garage, opt for the best quality doors and windows you can find.

If you must store trash outside overnight, consider building an enclosed trash corral or an electric-fenced enclosure. A sturdy outbuilding with doors and windows that lock is an even better choice.

Bears are intelligent, resourceful and adaptable. Do your part to be bear smart and your bears will be the best kind of neighbors: seldom seen, and never borrowing things they have no intention of returning.

To read more practical tips for coexisting with bears, get Linda Masterson’s book, Living With Bears, by clicking here.