CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says it's time to put the birdfeeders away to avoid bears hunting for food.

Some homeowners have already reported seeing bears at birdfeeders in different areas of the state. The department recommends taking down birdfeeders from April 1 to Dec. 1.

The department says it received 527 complaints about bears last year, below the long-term average of 695. But there were more than 1,000 complaints in 2012, and nearly 10 percent involved bears at birdfeeders. Another 40 percent of the complaints were the direct result of bears raiding unsecured garbage at homes and businesses.

"Bears went to den in good shape due to generally abundant foods," such as beechnuts, apples, mountain ash berries, and choke cherries, said Andrew Timmins, bear biologist. "However, it has been a long denning season and bears have depleted considerable body fat.

"When bears emerge, they will be hungry and food will be limited until spring green-up occurs," Timmons said. "We are hoping homeowners will be vigilant and remove/secure attractants so as not to entice bears and create nuisance behavior."


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