Bear wise-Bear sightings what to do
Saugeen Shores Police Service
Bear Encounters in Saugeen Shores
519-832-2500 - 911
Generally, bears want to avoid humans. Most encounters are not aggressive and attacks are rare.
Black bears live throughout most of Ontario. They primarily inhabit forested areas where they are best able to find food, refuge and den sites.
Their entire life revolves around food. When they are not hibernating, bears spend most of their time looking for food.
From the time they come out of hibernation until berry crops are available, bears live off their stored fat and the limited energy provided by fresh spring greens.
The availability of their natural food varies from season to season and from year to year. When natural food sources are poor, black bears will travel long distances to seek out alternative sources of food.
How to prevent conflicts with black bears
- put garbage out only on the morning of garbage day, not the night before
- put garbage in containers that have tight-fitting lids and store it in a bear-proof location such as your basement or a sturdy garage
- spray garbage cans and lids with bleach or another a strong disinfectant
- take garbage to the dump often, if you do not have curbside pick-up
- fill bird feeders only through the winter months
- put away feeders in the spring and instead, offer birds natural alternatives (e.g. flowers, nesting boxes, fresh water)
- Do not leave pet food outdoors, in screened- in areas or porches
Fruits and berries
- pick all ripe and fallen fruit from trees and shrubs on your property
- plant non-fruit bearing trees and shrubs
- burn off food residue and wash the grill right away
- empty the grease trap every time you barbecue
- remove all utensils, dishes and food after eating
Avoid bear-human interactions
If you encounter a black bear
- Stop. Do not panic. Remain calm.
- Quickly assess the situation and try to determine which type of an encounter this might be – sighting, surprise or close encounter.
- When bears are caught off guard, they are stressed, and usually just want to flee. Generally, the noisier the bear is, the less dangerous it is, provided you don't approach the bear. The noise is meant to ‘scare’ you off and acts as a warning signal.
If you see a black bear:
- do not try to get closer to the bear for a better look or picture
- make sure the bear has a clear escape route — don’t corner a bear
- always watch the bear and slowly back away until the bear is out of sight
- get inside, if you are near a building or vehicle
- leave the area, if you are berry-picking, hiking, camping, jogging or cycling
- if you are with others, stay together and act as a group
- if the bear does not get closer to you, slowly back away, talking to the bear in a quiet, monotone voice
Bear warning signs
Black bear attacks are extremely rare.
A black bear may attack if it:
- feels threatened - if it perceives you to be a threat to it, its cubs or it may be defending food - this is a defensive bear that wants more space between you and it
- is a predatory bear - usually occur in rural or remote areas. Predatory bears approach silently, and may continue to approach regardless of your attempts to deter them by yelling or throwing rocks
- There are warning signals threatened or predatory bears give to let you know you are too close:
- Stands on its hind legs - a bear usually stands to get a better look at you or ‘catch your scent’. This is not aggressive behaviour.
- Acts defensively - if a bear feels threatened by your presence, it may try to get you to back off and leave it alone. To do this, it may: o salivate excessively, exhale loudly, or make huffing, moaning, clacking and popping sounds with its mouth, teeth and jaws
- lower its head with its ears drawn back while facing you
- charge forward, and/or swat the ground with its paws (known as a ‘bluff’ charge)
- turn your back on the bear
- kneel down
- make direct eye contact
- climb a tree
- retreat into water or try and swim — a bear can do these things much better than you
- wave your arms to make yourself look bigger and yell at the bear to go away
- throw objects
- blow a whistle or an air horn
- make noise to try and persuade the bear to leave
- prepare to use bear pepper spray
If the bear keeps advancing toward you
- Stand your ground
- Use your bear pepper spray (if the bear is close) or anything else you can find or use to threaten or distract the bear
- Fight back as if your life depends on it
If the bear attacks
- fight back with everything you have — in a predatory attack, your life is at risk
- do not play dead except in the rare instance when you are sure a mother bear is attacking you in defense of cubs and your initial attempts to deter the bear have been unsuccessful (especially true for children or small-bodied adults)
After the bear leaves
- tell others about bear activity in the area
- if the bear was eating from a non-natural food source (like garbage or bird food), remove or secure the item that attracted the bear
For Further information please visit :
Ontario Bear Wise