How to Keep Your Vacation Home Safe When You’re Away

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If you live in bear country part time, it can be tough to remember to “think like a bear” every time you head back home. But bears don’t have second homes. Taking time to be bear smart and posting information for guests and renters can prevent problems and protect your home and property.

Outside Your Vacation Cabin / Home
•    Odors of all types attract bears. Take all food, garbage, trash, empty bottles and cans, packaging and recyclables with you. Don’t leave insect repellents, citronella candles or other scented products outside.
•    Wash out garbage cans and recycling bins and store inside.
•    Thoroughly clean and disinfect your BBQ grill, picnic and deck tables.
•    Bring in all bird feeders and birdseed, and store in a bear-proof location. Clean up fallen seed or hulls.
•    If your area has a history of bear break-ins, install unwelcome mats.

Inside Your Home
•    Creating a bear-proof storage area inside your home or garage can be a good solution when it’s not practical to take all bear-attractants with you. Use a bear-proof garbage can, or install a sturdy, locked enclosure or locker well away from windows, doors, and exhaust.
•    Clean pet dishes and put away.
•    Lock all windows and doors in your home and garage, including screen doors and sliding doors. Close curtains, shades and shutters. Drop a metal or wood rod in the track of sliding doors to prevent bears (and humans) from breaking the latch and opening the door.
•    Leave unscented odor-removing air fresheners in all rooms.
•    Leave a note with your contact information, in case there is a problem.
•    When you leave for the season, empty the refrigerator and freezer, thoroughly clean and disinfect, and leave an open box of baking soda inside. Store foods, beverages and spices in your locker.
•    Store scented products, including toiletries, lotions, sunscreen, lip balm, hair spray, shampoos and soaps, toothpaste, insect repellent, scented candles, and air fresheners in your locker or a sturdy lidded tub.

excerpt from Chapter 12 of LIVING WITH BEARS HANDBOOK

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