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Taking responsibility during bruin season

Contributor
By Contributor
July 6th, 2011

Bears are on the move searching of the nearest food source, and Environment Minister Terry Lake is urging British Columbians to be “Bear Aware” to help reduce bear-human conflicts.

The most effective and natural way to prevent conflicts with bears in urban areas is to put away food attractants such as garbage, bird seed, compost and fruit.

In communities where attractants are managed properly, there has been a decline in related bear-human conflict and the number of bears that have to be destroyed.

British Columbians are encouraged to prevent bear-human conflicts by adopting the following practices:

  • Keep garbage secured in the house, garage or shed until pick-up day and return the containers to the secure site once they are emptied.
  • Pick ripe and fallen fruit daily and remove any unused fruit trees.
  • Use bird feeders only in winter.
  • Keep the ground free of seeds and nuts.
  • Clean the barbecue grill after each use, and store it in a secure area.
  • Bring pet food dishes inside and store the pet food inside.
  • Do not add meat products or uncooked food to compost. Turn it regularly and keep it covered.
  • Work with your neighbours and municipal government to create a Bear Smart Community.
  • If residents spot a bear, they are advised to remain calm, keep away from the bear and bring children and pets indoors, if possible.
  • People should never approach a bear and should not run from it, as bears can move very quickly.
  • Once a bear has left the area, residents should check their yards to ensure there are no attractants available.

Hiking in bear country

Make sure someone knows your plans. Before your trip, leave names, trip plans and date of return with friends or family.

Carry bear spray and a noise maker. Before leaving home read the instructions. Carry the bear spray in a belt holster or somewhere where you can access it immediately. Do not carry the bear spray inside your backpack.

Go with friends. Bears are less likely to approach people in groups. Check each other’s position often and remember that the larger the group, the less likely a bear will hang around.

Keep young children close to you. Children can be particularly at risk because they are small and make erratic movements.

If you hike with a dog, keep it on a leash. Your dog should be leashed and under control at all times. An unleashed dog can lead an irritated bear back to you and your friends.

Make noise. Talk loudly, sing or let out occasional warning shouts. This will alert bears to your approach so you are less likely to cause a surprise encounter. Remember that other sounds, such as flowing rivers and streams and strong winds, can drown out the noise you make. Be extra noisy at these times.

Avoid areas with typical bear food sources. These include berry patches, grain fields, garbage pits, bee hives and anywhere you can see an animal carcass.

Watch for fresh bear signs. If the signs look like they were made recently, quickly and calmly leave the area.

Avoid being out at dusk, night or dawn. Although bear encounters can happen at any time of day, bears are most active at dusk, night and dawn.

 

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