Bears can be found in provincial parks and protected areas throughout the province (not just in mountain parks!). As a result of human activity, bear habitats have become more fragmented and encounters between bears and humans more common. Preventing bear encounters is the best option for people and for bears.
The best method to avoid bear encounters
Shouting regularly or singing loudly is far more effective than using bear bells.
Keep your ears open. Do not wear headphones or earbuds while on trails.
Watch for fresh bear signs. Tracks, scat and digs indicate that a bear has been in the area. Leave the area if the signs are fresh or if you encounter carrion.
Travel in groups and during daylight whenever possible.
Keep your dog on a leash or leave it at home.
Be aware if any attractants you many have and store them correctly.
If the bear makes contact with you, play dead! Playing dead involves lying on your stomach with your legs spread apart and your hands interlaced behind your neck to protect it. Having your legs spread makes it harder for the bear to roll you over. Remain still until you are sure the bear has left the area.
Defensive attacks usually do not exceed two minutes in duration. In most cases, injuries are relatively minor. If an attack lasts longer, it is possible that the defensive attack has become predatory.
Predatory attacks occur when a bear stalks you along a trail and then attacks, or when an attack occurs at night.
Try to escape! A car or building may provide safe refuge. Climbing a tree is an option but offers no guarantee of safety. Black bears are excellent climbers and grizzlies have also been known to climb trees. If you choose to climb a tree, get as high up in the tree as you can as quickly as possible. Once you have a safe perch, prepare to use your bear spray.
If you cannot escape, DO NOT play dead.
Use your bear spray and fight back! Make lots of noise, throw rocks, hit the animal with a branch or your poles - do everything you can to dissuade the bear from continuing the attack.
Living in Bear Country
Many people live in or border our parks in bear country. We’ve gathered some advice for living in bear country.
Keep your garbage and recyclable bottles and cans in bear-resistant, airtight containers.
Remove bird feeders from your yard in the months when bears are active – usually from the beginning of April until the end of November. Be sure to clean up any spilled bird seed from the ground.
Clean your barbecues. Scrub your barbecue clean after each use and store it in a bear-resistant building, such as the garage or shed.
Consider removing fruit trees and berry-producing bushes from your property. Bears are attracted to the fruit and berries. If you must keep the trees, pick the ripening fruit as early as possible and store them in secure, airtight containers.
Never leave food out for wildlife.
Talk to your neighbours. Let your neighbours know if you've seen a bear in the community and talk to them about being Bear Smart at home.
Bear Safety & Fishing
Clean fish at designated cleaning stations. If no station is available, clean fish inside a plastic bag or bucket. Then seal the guts in a plastic bag and deposit the waste in a bear proof garbage container.
Fish with friends. Make lots of noise and keep an eye on each other.
Stay attentive near lakeshores, rivers and creeks. These areas are used by wildlife as travel routes and feeding sites. Be alert and make as much noise as you can when fishing and moving about in these locations.
Seal your catch in plastic bags and wash your hands.
Hunting in Bear Country
NOTE: Hunting is only permitted in a select number of our sites. Please visit our hunting webpage for more information about where you can hunt.
Make every effort to remove a harvested animal in one trip or, failing that, in one day.
If you must leave a carcass at a remote field camp or other location, hang it at least 100 m from camp.
Use extreme caution when approaching the carcass. Make lots of noise in case your kill has attracted a bear.
If there is a bear at your kill site, don’t attempt to chase it away. Leave the site and the carcass to the bear. Report the incident to a Conservation Officer as soon as possible.
Check advisories which include bear and cougar advisories.