(Photo: Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty Images)
ATLANTA -- State Department of Natural Resources officials are reminding Georgians of ways to reduce the risk of coming face-to-face with hungry bears.
Department spokeswoman Melissa Cummings said Thursday that heavy rain this summer means certain natural foods bears typically forage for may be in short supply, which could send them wandering toward residential areas if garbage receptacles aren't secured.
Department wildlife biologist Adam Hammond says bears become used to finding food in garbage cans if it's available, and will return out of habit until eventually losing natural fear of humans.
Officials say Georgians should secure garbage containers in enclosed areas, place receptacles on the curb for pick up the day of, not the night before and remove food scraps from grills and fire pits daily.