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IFAS_WEC_AMAs893 karma

Bears have a great sense of smell and they follow it. You always want to be cognizant of any attractants you may have around.

My supervisor was hiking out west and came upon a ranger cabin in the backcountry. He watched while a grizzly bear broke in and completely decimated the place. It crushed the sides of canned food with no effort and went so far as to eat the laundry detergent.

I would tell you to always be vigilant and listen to your girlfriend. Its one thing to have the door open while you are working in front of your cabin, but I would caution leaving it open when you are not in view of it. I would also carry bear spray in the event you have a negative encounter with a bear.

IFAS_WEC_AMAs867 karma

I was sneaking up on a bear during denning season and we kept getting close to the signal, but could not immediately find the den. We found plenty of day beds where we could tell she had slept, but none had cubs.

We knew she gave birth, so the actual den had to be nearby. My boss and I crawled into this tunnel in the brush found more depressions that looked like dens, but no cubs. We continued to move forward and kept looking around when I turned my head and realized the mom and her cubs were about 5 feet away and she was staring right at me.

I wouldn't call that the scariest encounter, but it sure was interesting.

IFAS_WEC_AMAs745 karma

I would say not to feed them.

I know people think its fun and don't see the harm, but it has lasting effects. For instance, the consumption of anthropogenic foods can cause bears to become food-conditioned, which alters their behavior. They begin to associate areas like neighborhoods with an easy food source and will break into garages, vehicles, and houses to access these foods.

The worst case scenario is that someone gets hurt in the process. This type of behavior also results in wildlife managers having to go out trap and remove bears that exhibit this type of conflict behavior.

IFAS_WEC_AMAs473 karma

Yes, getting paid to do what I love has been a long journey. I studied Environmental science in undergrad at the University of Massachusetts, while there I had the opportunity to study abroad in Africa. That opportunity really changed my life and made me want to do field biology. My first few jobs were internships, where I was given a small stipend and housing. I worked hard at those and built from there to paid technician work until I got into graduate school.

Somethings that really helped me be able to do this were: 1) I had 0$ student debt (between going to a state school, my parents, scholarships, and grants)
2) not having a car 3) being on my parent's insurance until I was 26 4) being willing to move every 3-6 months for 6 years

IFAS_WEC_AMAs472 karma

It's all part of the job.