Bear Aware: Fruit tree pickings

It’s that time of year to start thinking about picking your fruit trees.

Bear Sightings: No bear sightings reported last week.

It’s that time of year to start thinking about picking your fruit trees. There is an incredible amount of fruit-bearing trees in the valley. Apples, crab-apples, cherries, apricots, pears, and many ornamental fruit bearing trees are located around the valley.

The second annual Columbia Valley Fruit Swap program is starting up with a bang. If you have a fruit-bearing tree and you don’t eat the fruit or if you want to pick fruit from a tree and use it, call me at 250-688-0561. The idea behind the program is to swap contact information of people who want fruit with residents who have fruit trees. Simple! The program was started last year to put fruit that normally wouldn’t be eaten in the hands of people who will eat it. It’s also of course a great program to minimize attractants. The program does not guarantee that your fruit tree will be picked. Some types of fruit are less sought after and are hard to find people to pick them. If we are unable to match you with a picker, you will still need to pick your fruit tree.

When residents don’t pick their fruit-bearing trees, the fruit will fall to the ground and become a food source for such animals as deer, skunks and bears. Sometimes when fruit is left long enough, it will ferment, consequently making birds, bears and other animals intoxicated from eating them. This may sound funny, but it’s not for the animal as they could end up in trouble fast. Bear Aware recommends that you pick fruit and allow it to ripen indoors; or pick daily as it ripens. If you do not want the fruit, consider pruning the tree vigorously or spray spring blossoms with a power washer to knock them off. If you no longer want to manage your tree, consider replacement with a native, non-fruit bearing variety.

The communities of Invermere and Radium haven’t had any bear sightings for the last couple months. This is probably due to food such as huckleberries and buffalo berries being available, along with lots of other forage, on higher ground.

Often that food source becomes scarce around September and then bears will try to find other food sources to fatten up in preparation for hibernation. This is the time to be proactive about your fruit bearing tree.

Bear fact: Grizzly bears have been noted to eat 100,000 buffalo berries in a day! To have enough energy for their winter sleep, they need to eat the equivalent of 300 apples or 60 hamburgers a day.

To report a bear sighting or incident call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. For more information on Bear Aware contact Crystal Leonard, Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator at 250-688-0561, or For more solutions check out the Bear Aware website at Bear Aware gratefully acknowledges funding by Columbia Basin Trust, the MOE and the Communities of Invermere and Radium.