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Guests called to say a bear was in the driveway sniffing their car

Do you think the bear would have come around if guests happend to be talking on the porch? Now I am getting very concerned about guests and if the bears are just getting used to humans. I know that has been mentioned on the news…but I can’t have bears feeling comfortable around people. Adults play horseshoes in the back yard. Kids play.

Someone recently (locally) said they were on a ladder doing something on the roof. And then they felt the ladder shaking, and a bear was starting to climb up. Somehow he scared it off.

My guests were inside the house at the time. It’s only two guests. Do you think if they were talking outside at a normal level, the bear would have come around? It was still plenty daylight out too. I have to go clean tomorrow and don’t know if indoor music will keep him away? Eeeek!

Bears are one of the least predictable critters on the planet. Since they are in the vicinity of your listing, I sincerely hope you have a prominently displayed “what to do if a bear shows up” safety information.

Living in Florida, we have a page in our Cabana Book that tells people about alligator interactions. Even though there have not been any sightings in the immediate neighborhood, there is at least one 8 footer that lives in the canal about half a mile away.

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I have been sending guests recent local news articles on the bears, and how they are hungrier this year coming out of hibernation. And I have been stressing the importance of not leaving any kind of left over food, empty candy wrappers, etc in vehicles. I also tell them they must clean the grill well after each use, and can’t leave any kinds of spills, etc.

I had recent guests stay for 3 nights and not once did they clean the grill. It was filthy. Completely disregarded any kind of warning.

Oh no! These weren’t the guests you were just trying to placate, correct?

When it comes to local hazards we need to disclose. It’s a tricky slippery slope trying to reassure guests without scaring them off.

I’ve just been through this with the dengue fever outbreak here on the Big island, which lasted approximately from about October through April or so. Although it was overwhelmingly residents who got sick, it was certainly the duty of all of us to warn guests and urge them to take precautions.

My immediate neighborhood had only one case during this period. Otherwise the outbreak was confined mainly to certain beach parks. Still, during the peak period, I had a number of guests panic. One party canceled and demanded a refund, (Air sided with me on it) and another asked for a discount. It was tricky to deal with. In the end, I though it was better to disclose it when they booked, and urged them not to panic, and just gave them plenty of information. The outbreak was not endemic, meaning it was Imported by someone already sick.

We didn’t have cases here in my neighborhood, though, and they just needed to avoid certain beach parks which were closed to the public anyway.

I bought some bug spray and would again tell them they needed to not get bit. I also showed them my many mosquito traps. Eventually things calmed down and the outbreak was contained.

Disclosure and information is key, otherwise you could risk bad reviews!

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Do you have cans of bear repellent around, like some may have fire extinguishers?

(I don’t know anything about bear repellent, it just came to mind - but some have pretty good reviews on Amazon)

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Well, I have to agree with KenH on this one!
There is plenty of information out there, you could pick and choose what is most applicable and put on a safety card, here is just one of many sites:
https://www.nps.gov/subjects/bears/safety.htm

For the record, I don’t believe in bear spray, conditions have to be just perfect and unless one is familiar and comfortable with wildlife encounters and able to stay very calm with these types of situations, it just could be even more dangerous.

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My friend JUST posted on FB a video of baby bears getting into someone’s backyard and swimming in a pool

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Yes…same guests that wanted to cancel and I wrote that long ass reply!

Thanks for the responses everyone. I am looking into things to dissuade bears (aside from eliminating food sources).

But my question is if you think the bear would just come hang out if people were having a conversation on the deck, etc. Or if a couple people were playing horseshoes. Of course each bear is different, but I am wondering if that bear would have even come out if he heard people talking. I wonder how well they can even hear. I know their sniffers are very strong. I wonder if they can hear a tv going on inside.

I just remembered now that an old roommate of mine said she saw a bear by her car in the driveway. She was home and I know her tv is always on. So scratch that theory then…bear doesn’t care if someone is inside. I hope he cares someone is talking outside though…eek!

Bears are, as @KenH said, very unpredictable. My friend just had one 3 days ago, her old golden retriever was napping as she was gardening her flowers, and she gets up, turns around, and there is mr. bear, just walking around her house, took a moment to glance her way, but was blocking her entrance back into the house! She is extremely vigilant concerning garbage/foods due to coyotes and bears. She had to go in her shed.

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It’s possible, so that’s why I would give guests a heads up about what to do… Can you make a lot of noise and scare them off? Can you offer to go in and get the trash every day? Tell them not to leave anything at all with a scent in the car or outside. They can tear the doors off a car if they are determined to get in.

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Guests haven’t been allowed to leave any trash outside for quite some time. The neighbor has allowed them to use their dumpster. I also tell them not to leave any kind of candy wrappers, empty food containers, etc. in their car. And the articles (about bears in this area) I send them also goes over this. It really pissed me off when that guy left the grill filthy for 3 days, as all the other guests have taken the bear issue seriously.

I think what confuses me about to do if you confront a bear - is that there is conflicting advice. And then sometimes they are talking about different kinds of bears. What really scares me is people playing in the yard and a bear just coming out of the woods. So I need to leave something with instructions, and maybe buy some noisemakers, etc. I just don’t know. I guess I could buy bells for all my guests to wear on their shoe laces. But then I heard that is just a myth. Others say it works. Aren’t there any pro campers on this board? I cannot believe people even camp out in the woods with bears all around…Eeekk!!

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Brook mentioned to be careful with using bear spray and an inexperienced person may cause the situation to become more dangerous - that’s what I am concerned about - giving advice or providing bear spray - and then some horrible situation happens because I myself am really not qualified at all to tell people how to handle a bear. I suppose I could just point them to weblinks - but I would like to have something printed off so the group can go over it upon arrival.

I’ve done it! LOL! The Bears that bother campers are only after food and won’t be aggressive with people unless you get in the way of a mama bear and cubs… That’s why when camping you have to tie your food up. Of course this is a generalization. Not sure what to do about the Bears that come around during the day. The Bears I have encountered while camping have been shy nighttime foraging Bears. (No idea why the iPad is changing all the Bs to capital letters, but I am not going to go back into my typing and change it!)

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I am experienced with camping/hiking with bears slightly.
My advice to you, is if there are any state campgrounds near you…go there…get from them the information sheets they hand out to campers. Make copies. Follow the advice.

for a little comedic relief:

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Bears? Don’t allow barbecues in your yard and keep garbage indoors, and put info in your ad and discuss with prospective guests.
Dengue: much more serious because the only solution is to NOT GET BITTEN. Definitely give strong notice in your ad and notify all guests. There is nothing you can do about mosquitoes or any insects, snakes, crocs, etc. except warn people.
We are birders and we cancelled a trip to Bolivia a few years ago when Bolivia was the epicenter of an epidemic (and lost money). Dengue is very dangerous for children, elderly, and those with other chronic problems such as kidney, lungs and
immune system problem. Our principle was ZERO RISK, even though we use repellent spray on our clothes (Repel, available on line, REALLY WORKS), People have a right to know about local conditions that have health implications, whether dengue, West Nile, malaria, cholera, etc. Equally iimportant: YOU need to know about existing health problems of guests, such as asthma,epilepsy, immune disorder, things that might affect their balance, etc. Always ask guests.
In the end you might need to have them indemnify you against anything they get when they are guests, even though
it might be contracted outside your home.

This is currently no active dengue outbreak in any part of Hawaii. Dengue is NOT endemic here. It’s ONLY imported… What we had was considered small and it expanded because sick campers brought it to the Islands and it got into the local population. The mosquitos that carry it were able to live longer last summer due to the hot muggy El Nino conditions of last summer.

Of course I provided notification information at the time and even links to DOH websites.
This is what I said in my post.

Dengue is actively found all throughout the South Pacific… including Fiji and Tahiti and other popular tourist destinations. When we had the outbreak (now contained) visitors to Hawaii received DOH notice and information when they arrived at the airport. I told them too, obviously, but it’s not my responsibility to be providing department of health-level warnings and guidance.

This is going too far. Are you serious? Ask guests about health issues? You can’t even get them to hand over their email address! Sign a waiver for contracting diseases?

Visit anywhere at your own risk! And right now there is no risk-- ZERO-- For acquiring dengue or even Zika in the Hawaiian Islands. These diseases are not endemic here. Which is not to say we must not continue to Fight the Bite. That is ongoing here and everywhere.

umm. No bears in Hawaii, but thanks for the advice. :smile:

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I know other people have said this on the forum, possibly in this thread. But is it really the host’s responsibility to include health warning in his listing or guide? Isn’t it the guest’s responsibility to figure out whether a location is safe for them? India has dengue, malaria, and tons of other fun stuff. But visitors are not much at risk, at least from the nastier stuff, because they typically don’t stay long enough.

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Yes, you are right and I retract what I said. As a former world traveller I assiduously researched health and disease
risks of every country before visiting. The only caveat would be if there were a LOCAL problem such as contaminated
drinking water supply or a local epidemic of something communicable. Otherwise the traveller is responsible for
knowing local climate conditions and other things.

Because our dengue outbreak was unusual, unexpected and sudden, I did warn guests. It was the two guests I didn’t warn (they had booked months before and found out via the media) who panicked. One was a doctor and just wanted to cut two nights off his trip. We compromised and I refunded one night. The other was an older couple who was sure I defrauded them and asked Air for a refund. They said no since it didn’t meet their extenuating circumstances definition. I kept his nights but still lost money on the booking because they dinged me for the cleaning and it was a same day cancellation.

I discovered I did much better with guests during the outbreak when I gave a heads up and information and the outbreak was finally contained.

The DOH gave plenty of information at the point of arrival. And I agree with Faheem, it is not my responsibility to warn guests above every danger they might encounter here, including those that are health related.

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