With bears on the rise, states hope to limit human conflicts

A year after a spring and summer marked by a high number of nuisance bear complaints, wildlife officials are encouraging people and bears to keep their distance from each other.

Conflicts between bears and humans are common in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in summer months. Last year's total of 719 complaints of nuisance bears in Maine was the second highest number since 2007.

A Maine bear biologist says the number of complaints correlates with availability of natural foods such as berries, acorns and beechnuts. Last year's dry weather sent bears looking for other food around bird feeders and trashcans.

It's too early to say if that'll happen again this year. The state has received more than 30 complaints so far, and is encouraging people to take precautions.