Human intervention into the diets of deer, geese, and bear in particular pose serious problems with wildlife management.

Feeding Wildlife – A Vicious Cycle


Feeding Deer lures too many deer into an area with insufficient food. When the handouts end (often in winter) there is not enough food for the deer to survive. Plus, most food provided does not supply appropriate nutrients and leads to unhealthy animals.


Feeding geese coaxes geese to stay in their summer range year round. When natural food sources disappear in winter, geese depend completely on people for food. Feeding geese can cause them to become dependent on handouts after only three years. Also, a large concentration of geese creates an increase in droppings. This unsanitary accumulation can raise bacterial levels in streams and lakes that can cause health concerns.


Many Pennsylvania state parks, including Cook Forest, are habitat for black bears. Although they appear cute and cuddly like a teddy bear, black bears are wild animals.

A black bear can scramble up a tree like a raccoon and sprint as fast as a race horse. Bears use their claws to tear apart rotting logs to find food, and those claws also work well to open garbage cans and coolers. The size and strength of a black bear is astonishing.

Black bears have poor eyesight and fair hearing, but an excellent sense of smell. Aromatic scents coming from your food can attract a curious and hungry bear from a great distance.

Store all food items inside a vehicle. At primitive, walk-in campsites, suspend food between two trees, ten feet in the air and three feet from either tree.

Black bears normally avoid people, but bears dependent on eating human food can become slightly aggressive when people get between them and food.

If you come in contact with a black bear, try chasing it away by making loud noises like yelling, honking a car horn or banging a pot. Notify a park employee if you have difficulties with bears.

Never approach a bear and be especially wary of mother bears and cubs.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources