Will I see a bear when I visit New Hampshire’s White Mountains?
The black bear is a magnificent sight for sure and many visitors ask this question. They typically prefer large forested areas with little human disturbance. This changes with their search for food in the spring. Bears can be seen at any time of the day from spring through the fall so please drive with caution.
New Hampshire’s black bears begin to emerge from their dens during late March and early April. Exactly when depends on the annual food abundance; amount of stored body fat; the sex and age of the bear and weather conditions. In spring, they are in search of spring grasses and newly emerged succulent plants. They are not true hibernators and have been known to roam around with unseasonable warm temps and then return to the den when temperatures drop.
When food is scarce due to a cold spring or spring snow cover, bears seek out alternative food sources. Bears are known to have good memories. They will return to food sources that have been fruitful in the past. Restaurant dumpsters are always popular stops. Funny how they know just when to time their visit – after dinner!
Bird feeders are also another reliable source for some very yummy black oil sunflower seed and suet. Any bird food will do. Although sanctioned feeding of birds in New Hampshire is from late fall through the end of March, many continue feeding for an up close view of these very entertaining visitors. Feeding after April 1st is almost a guarantee of a local black bear sighting.
Don’t leave trash outside. Don’t leave food in your car with your windows cracked or open and keep your barbeque grill clean. These are all temptations until their natural food source becomes plentiful.
If you see a bear, keep your distance. They are generally more afraid of you. Make the bear aware of your presence by making noise. Often a firm request to leave will work on most bears. If you get too close, the bear may slap the ground, huff, blow and chomp its teeth of even “bluff charge” you. If any of this happens, don’t turn your back on the bear, maintain eye contact, speak softly and slowly move away.
The black bear is the only bear species in New Hampshire. Currently population estimates are around 5000. Females generally weigh 125 – 150 pounds. Adult males are larger with a weight range from 200 – 250 pounds. If an area can support a healthy bear population, the area is also healthy enough to support humans as well!
Many visitors travel to the White Mountains to view wildlife. In addition to the black bear, sightings of white-tailed deer, moose, fox and other native animals are possible. The Stonehurst Manor is conveniently located just north of North Conway Village on the edge of the White Mountain National Forest considered to be an excellent place to observe wildlife. Book your room directly by calling 1-800-525-9100 for the best rate with dinner and breakfast included.