How do I avoid bear encounters?

Humans are an odd species that, for whatever reason, like to vacation on our property. Their behavior runs the gamut from friendly and disgusting, to murderous and disgusting, and it’s something hard to tell the difference. If you spot camo clothing, they’re probably the dangerous kind.

Despite their continued and unwanted presence on our property, bears remain forbidden in almost all human land, and can be shot for even showing up.

This bear was shot on site shortly after this picture was drawn.

This bear was shot on site shortly after this picture was drawn.

Interacting with humans should be avoided if at all possible.

That being said, there are two occasions where the reward outweighs the risk. One, if the human goes rogue and starts walking around on your house. If this happens, by all means get up and say something. Two, if the humans come on our property and leave food out, it is my opinion that you should go for it at all costs. There are a few scenarios where this can be done relatively safely:

Humans are a messy bunch when they eat, and often leave scraps on the ground near their campfire. Perfectly good scraps! After dark, the humans disappear into their tents and this is your time to strike. Head on over there and take what is rightfully yours!

Humans often have extra food stored for the rest of their trip. Although the clever ones put this in a bag and hang it out of reach, many of the others just leave it on the ground, or in an open box.  If they leave it out, you should go and grab it.

You may find that the humans put their food in a plastic barrel. These are sealed pretty tight, but if they are easy to get at, it can be worth trying to scratch or bit it open.

Most humans have learnt to keep their food away, but there are still easy pickings out there. Keep a close eye, and if you smell anything – anything! – take a closer look. Sometimes it’s just toothpaste or deodorant, but it can be hard to tell the difference. If you pick up any smells, there may be a meal waiting for you!

Authorized by the council of black bears of Ontario.