Maine wildlife officials say the number of complaints about bears has more than doubled so far this year.
Officials say between Jan. 1 and July 3, the Maine Warden Service had received 542 complaints from the public about bears.
That’s up from 252 complaints in the same period last year, and 292 complaints in 2010.
Bear biologist Jennifer Vashon says homeowners can avoid most encounters with bears by removing common backyard attractants, such as birdseed and trash, from their properties.
Wildlife officials say people should make loud noises if they encounter a bear to scare it off and then back away to give it an escape route.