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Don't use ammonia to deter bears ...

COUNTRYSIDE: In my letter in the May/ June issue of COUNTRYSIDE, I intentionally left out the reference to a baited balloon, as a means of deterring a problem bear; but alas, this is one of those horrible ideas that just won't go away. Since it was mentioned in another letter, I feel I should address the issue: Please do not use ammonia in the balloon!

The original idea was to put vinegar in the balloon, smear it with peanut butter and stake out the balloon on a string to the ground or tied to a tree (or offending bird feeder). A mouth and nose full of vinegar is very unpleasant, but will not cause any long-term damage to the animal that bites it.

Ammonia, on the other hand, can cause severe damage to the nose, mouth, lungs and eyes of the bear and may contribute to the death of the animal. Bears have an extraordinary sense of smell: it is believed that a bear can smell a cold BBQ grill five miles away, depending on the wind. Take away his sense of smell and the bear will soon starve. If you think a hungry bear is a problem, just imagine the nightmare a hungry "handicapped" bear might cause in the neighborhood! Be aware that some states have laws regarding baited traps that result in injury or death of a wild animal. Please help spread the word: Just say "no" to ammonia! Vinegar is sufficient as a deterrent.--Lisa McNeill, Bear Aware Volunteer, Colorado
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:McNeill, Lisa
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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