swan decoy

Jackson police put  this swan decoy in Jackson Village Park’s pond to scare away the Canada geese. It — and a coyote decoy — have worked like a charm, says the police chief. (FILE PHOT

JACKSON — Police say black bears are making mischief again in Jackson.

The police posted on their Facebook page Wednesday that they were getting reports of a black bear or bears getting into cars along Route 16 and Meserve Hill.

“Please lock your car doors and report any incidents to the Jackson Police Department at (603) 383-9292 or the USDA Bear Techs at (603) 223-6832,” said Officer Ryan McDonald on Wednesday’s Facebook post.

In July, a New Hampshire Fish and Game had to shoot and kill a bear that broke into a home in Jackson and then refused to leave the area — an occurrence that’s quite rare, Jackson Police Chief Chris Perley said in a phone interview. He said the vast majority of bear incidents involve unlocked cars.

Perley also advises that people clean their cars because any food scrap can attract them.

“The french fry from Fourth of July smells like a turkey dinner to a bear, and they will do anything and everything to get it,” said Perley, who said normally they just open unlocked car doors and rarely do they break in.

When bears break in that means they have become “completely accustomed” to humans, and that makes them more of a concern.

But Perley also had good news to report. He said the town has had a "smashing success”  keeping the geese out of the pond on the green, which means the geese are less likely to defecate on the soccer field, something that was a problem when he first took over the department.

In 2017, Perley’s first year, geese feces were a problem. They contain a lot of bacteria that can be deadly to people with compromised immune systems.

“We care if they are pooping on the grass,” said Perley.

The following year, police tried a number of steps, including using a coyote decoy, a predator call and leaving the grass 10 inches long around the edge of the pond. He said the geese don’t like long grass because a predator can hide in it.

But people thought the predator call was an animal in distress, and they didn’t like the long grass around the pond.

Other techniques that have been used are laser lights that annoy the geese and pyrotechnic munitions.

Perley said the latter is basically a gun that shoots sparklers and noisemakers. He said the lights just annoy the geese temporarily and they return, while the pyrotechnic munitions can be disturbing.

This year, they’ve added a trumpeter swan decoy to the mix. It’s placed in an area the geese seem to like, and Perley said that’s made “substantial improvement.” He said the trumpeter swan is a competitor to the geese.

He said there was some debate on the department’s Facebook page about whether the decoys would work, but the result is the fake swan-and-coyote combo has proven itself.

Perley also wanted to remind the public not to feed bread to the geese, saying it’s bad for their digestive systems and is a violation of federal law.

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