News Start preparing now to avoid unwelcome visitors this spring SHARE ON: Taylor Ablett, contributor, Thursday, Apr. 6th, 2017 Some uninvited visitors could start making their way into Muskoka communities. Bears are coming out of hibernation now, and the OPP says they could make their way into neighbourhoods looking for food. Sergeant Peter Leon says people need to respect nature, and it’s never a good idea to approach a wild bear. //www.myhaliburtonnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Bear-Wise-1.mp3 Leon says it’s also a good idea to not put any bird feeders out just yet, especially if you’ve had issues with bears in the past. Local OPP units dealt with a number of bear reports last summer, primarily because of garbage bringing them into the community. Leon says it’s best to start preparing now, because the bears are going to be hungry and will remember where they found food in the past. //www.myhaliburtonnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Bear-Wise-3.mp3 Leon says there are a couple of different ways to report bear sightings in your neighbourhood. For non-emergencies, you can call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Bear Wise hotline at 1-866-514-2327. The line is open 24/7 from April 1st to November 30th. More information is on the Bear Encounters website. Leon says stay in contact with your neighbours, and keep an eye on what’s going on in your community.