How to Live with Bears

Safety tips to avoid human-bear contact

Spring is upon us, which means the long winter sleep is over for bears, they will be emerging from their winter hibernation and they will be hungry.  

Although bears are generally timid animals, they can lose their natural fear of humans as they become more familiar with us and our habits.  It goes without saying  that human-bear contact is never an advisable situation.  As humans move further into bear habitat, the bears can't help but investigate our yards and dumpsters as a reliable food source.  Bears are attracted to our communities by garbage, bird feeders, pets, and the smell of grease and food residue.  There are, however, steps that can be taken to lessen the likelihood of interaction as the bears awaken from hibernation.

Store garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids

Bears have a tremendous sense of smell, and will follow it to any food source.  A garbage can with a tight-fitting lid will reduce the escaping odours that ring like a dinner-bell for any bear in the vicinity.  When bears find a food source, they will return to that food source, so it is best not to entice them.

Put out garbage only on the morning of pick-up

Keep your garbage cans locked away in the shed or garage where hungry bears will be less likely to seek out food. If your garbage is placed at the curb overnight, you will not only attract raccoons, crows and the neighbor's dog, but a hungry bear as well.  Some communities have passed bi-laws to keep people from putting their garbage at the curb before 6am the day-of pick-up.

Put away bird feeders

Although bears are a lot larger than a a bird, their diet will include nuts and berries and other small treats.  Put away your bird feeders and reduce the chance of seeing a bear hanging from a branch on a tree in your backyard.

Clean your grill

Clean your barbecues after usage as well as the grease trap below the grill.  The strong smell of grease from the grill will bring a bear in quicker than a Texan.  What bear wouldn't love some ribs slathered in finger-licking BBQ sauce?  Keep it clean, and the bears won't assume they are invited to the feast.

To keep your family safe from contact with bears, please follow these simple tips and take precautions.  Bears may be a fact of life for many communities, but changing a few habits could save an unfortunate run in with a hungry spring bear.