Did you know that most human-bear conflicts almost always occur when bears are attracted by smells and rewarded with an easy meal? That’s why the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is reminding everyone to be Bear Wise this summer.  

You can prevent bears from visiting your home and neighbourhood by:  

  • Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids (indoors if possible)  

  • Waiting until pickup day to put out garbage  

  • Storing bird feeders for the spring (you can offer birds natural alternatives, such as flowers, nesting boxes and freshwater)  

  • Cleaning food residue and grease from outdoor barbecue grills, including grease traps, after each use  

  • Keeping pet food indoors  

To avoid an unwanted bear encounter while out in less populated areas, here are some things you can do:  

  • Make noise when you move through heavily wooded areas, especially if you are near a stream or waterfall where bears may not hear you 

  • Singing, whistling or talking will alert bears to your presence, giving them a chance to avoid you 

  • Keep your eyes and ears open and watch for signs of a bear, such as tracks, claw marks on trees or droppings. 

  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are doing activities outside (e.g. hiking, jogging, cycling, gardening, berry picking or camping) where bears may not realize you are there. 

  • If you are out with a dog, keep it on a leash. Uncontrolled and/or untrained dogs may actually lead a bear to you. 

Black bears that enter your community do not always pose a threat, but it is important to know who to call if you encounter one.   

The province operates a non-emergency, toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327). The line is open 24/7 from April 1 to November 30.  

Call 911 or your local police if a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety and exhibits threatening or aggressive behaviour, such as:  

  • enters a schoolyard when school is in session  

  • stalks people and lingers at the site  

  • enters or tries to enter a residence  

  • wanders into a public gathering  

If a bear is posing an immediate threat by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, remain calm and call 911 or your local police department.