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Bears on the hunt for food to fatten up before winter

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As fall approaches, we're seeing more of Asheville's native animals -- that means bears, just like the one spotted in the News 13 parking lot Monday. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Summer time means we're seeing more of Asheville's native animals -- that means bears, just like the one spotted in the News 13 parking lot Monday.

WNC Nature Center director Chris Gentile said black bears get more active as fall approaches because they are hungrier than usual. Gentile said, during the next four to six weeks, bears will be eating extra to fatten up for the winter.

Gentile said the key to keeping bears off your property is to simply make it unappetizing.

"This is the time of year to make sure you’re not leaving food on the grill outside overnight, you’re not leaving your trash out where bears can get it, you’re not leaving the birdfeeder filled. All that is going to do is attract them to your backyard," Gentile said.

Gentile said, by mid-October, black bears should be properly fattened and ready to go into semi-hibernation for the winter. But, he said, bears in Western North Carolina don’t go completely into hibernation. They can still come out on some of the warmer winter days and search for food.

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