Attractant Removal: Volunteers assist seniors and those unable to clean attractants such as apples and fruit trees in their yards and provide bear proof garbage bins to those in need of a place to store garbage until time of pick up.
Bear Proof Garbage Bin Loans: Through funds awarded to the program 24 bear proof garbage cans have been purchased to loan to those in need of a storage place if bears are accessing their garbage. Yearly funding applications are done to increase the number of bins for loan.
Municipal Attractant By Laws: our organization works in partnership with the municipal government creating and updating by laws to assist and enforce the reduction of attractants within residential areas. Through combined efforts with the local peace officers and council bylaws were created to insure garbage is contained and fruit, birdseed, compost material is removed so as not to create an issue. Local Peace Officers patrol problem areas with the volunteers and enforce the bylaws when necessary.
Residents can minimize the risk of having a negative encounter with a bear by following
- Residents should store garbage in bear-resistant and odour-proof containers or buildings;
- Gardens and produce may attract bears. Sites that bears visit regularly may require electric fencing;
- Residents should clean barbecues after each use and keep barbecues in a bearresistant structure if possible;
- Residents should aerate compost piles frequently and cover these with soil or lime. They should not put meat, fish, oils and milk products in the compost pile; Fruit trees and shrubs, including ornamental varieties, attract bears. If existing trees cannot be removed,
picking the blossoms in spring can reduce problems. Residents should pick ripening fruit as early as possible in the season and clean windfalls and waste fruit daily before dark;
- Bird feeders should be hung at least three metres above the ground, decks or patios;
- All bird feeders should not be used between April 1 and November 30;
- Smokehouses and animal carcasses, including bones, hides and waste, should be stored in bear-resistant buildings well away from people;
- Residents should use stout shutters or iron bars rather than inadequate screen doors and windows;
- Pet owners should not leave pet food and feeders outside overnight;
- Pets and the odours they produce should be well contained and protected. Bears may stalk pets as potential food;
- Dogs will warn of the presence of a bear. They can be effective at keeping bears away from yards and buildings;
- No one should feed wildlife–doing so may be illegal and can create dangerous situations for everyone;
- Curious bears should be repelled as quickly and effectively as possible by shouting, banging pots, firing a noisemaker, using bear spray or letting dogs bark; and
- Bear incidents should be reported immediately. A bear cannot be allowed to return repeatedly as they will become human- or food-habituated.
Best Practices for Waste Management
- Restricting curb-side placement of garbage and recycling to the morning of pick-up.
- Modifying garbage collection schedules to allow residents to put their garbage out the morning of pick-up (e.g., begin pick-up no earlier than 8 a.m.).
- Using community bear-resistant dumpsters instead of curb-side garbage collection.
- Promoting the use of bear-resistant waste containers by residents.
- Promoting or requiring the use of bear-resistant dumpsters by commercial businesses that produce food waste.
- Developing community guidelines for appropriate waste management procedures at special community events, particularly outdoor events where food is being served.
- Installing bear-deterrent (electric or chain link) fence around recycling depots.
These can be emptied regularly and will serve to keep the public away from the
active operating area of the landfill, helping to address safety concerns. To allow
residents to dispose of their garbage regularly, locate the dumpsters so the public can
access them when the landfill site is locked.
Any measures to exclude bears from landfill sites must be accompanied by a proactive
education and awareness program to ensure human food and garbage do not attract
bears into residential areas.
Best Practices for the Control of Other Bear Attractants
- Consider the banning of all types of bird feeders from April 1 to November 30.
- Implement a community bear-resistant composting program (e.g., placing compost in a common bearresistant
enclosure using electric or chain-link fencing).
- Discourage improper composting; ban meat, fish or sweet food including fruit from compost piles; aerate piles often and sprinkle lime regularly to decrease odours.
- Ban composting in some situations, if warranted.
- Provide electric fencing to protect valuable trees, orchards, vegetable and berry patches.
- Develop guidelines, information and bylaws that encourage planting of non-attractant vegetation and discourage landscaping that attracts bears (e.g., berry bushes).
- Remove vegetation that attracts bears from municipal lands if there is a history of bear presence in area.
Best Practices for Design and Management of Green Spaces and Corridors:
Clear brush, particularly bear-attractant plant and tree species, away from school yards, children’s play areas and any bear incident hotspots.
Locate green spaces and trails so they do not provide a continuous wildlife corridor between forested land and residential areas.
Plan new housing developments so that green spaces are not too large and inviting for bears.
Ensure that adequate wildlife travel corridors exist around the community.
Avoid planting bear-attractant plant and tree species in new housing developments and green spaces within the
Non-lethal deterrents can effectively prevent a physical encounter with a bear and, if used properly, cause no injury to the animal. Non-lethal deterrents can be broken into two categories, noise deterrents and physical deterrents.
Noise deterrents can be effective in creating a negative experience without causing any harm or injury to the bear. Noise deterrents provide negative auditory and visual experiences. Noise deterrents include, but are not limited to, the following:
- air horn;
- 12-gauge crackers; and
- 12-gauge whistle crackers.
Physical deterrents are very effective in creating a negative experience for a bear. There are a variety of deterrents available but caution is needed as many can seriously injure or kill the bear if used improperly. Physical deterrents include, but are not limited to, the following:
- bear spray;
- 12-gauge bean bags;
- 12-gauge rubber slugs; and
- 12-gauge rubber buckshot.
Garbage and human food are the two main causes of conflicts between humans and bears. Human foods and garbage are strong attractants to bears. A successful bear is a well-fed bear, and a bear will soon learn that garbage and human food can be an easily available food source. The
amount of calories obtained from a bag of garbage is significant compared to the energy the bear had to expend to obtain it. Bears are in a constant search for food as their survival depends on how well they feed between leaving and re-entering their dens. In years where there is a natural berry
crop failure, garbage becomes even more attractive to bears.
Proper garbage storage and disposal is vital as a preventive measure to reduce conflicts between humans and bears. Some of the main sources of garbage are industrial camps and landfills. At no time should bears be allowed access to this attractant. The most effective solution for handling bear
problems is to eliminate garbage from the bear’s environment before a problem develops.
- Never store garbage outside unless it is in a bearresistant container.
- Minimize odours with plastic garbage bags and tightfitting lids.
- Keep garbage cans free of odours and wash often.
- Do not leave garbage on a balcony or porch (black bears are expert climbers).
Other attractants that are sources of conflict can include stored grey water (sewage and used water), compost bins, fire pits, barbecues, petroleum products or anything else a bear perceives as food. As with garbage, steps should be taken to ensure that a bear is not attracted to an area where it is not welcome.
Bear-resistant Garbage Containers
A container is defined as bear resistant if it meets the following criteria established by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.
A securable container constructed of a solid, non-pliable material capable of withstanding 270 joules (200 foot-pounds) of energy. When secured and under stress, the container will not have any cracks, openings or hinges that would allow a bear to gain entry by biting or pulling with its claws. Wood containers are not considered bear resistant unless they are reinforced with metal.
Containers that do not have lids or have insufficient lids are not considered bear-resistant. Bear-resistant garbage containers are an effective means of restricting bear access to garbage only when the lids are properly secured. Often bears will access garbage through a poorly maintained lid or one that was left open. Ideally in an industrial camp, garbage containers should be located within an electric fence (with appropriate signs warning the public that electric fencing is a safety hazard).
Dogs in Bear Country
Many agencies discourage the presence of dogs in bear habitats since they may annoy people, harass wildlife and potentially bring bears back to their owners. However, there are many examples and a long history of dogs being used to efficiently and economically
protect people and property from bears.
There are a few dog breeds that have been developed specifically for this purpose. The ability to deal effectively with bears is a trait of each individual dog. Some breeds, such as Karelian Bear Dogs, have been bred selectively to work with bears; however, not every dog in that breed will be capable of doing so effectively. People living or working in bear habitat may consider using dogs to minimize human-bear conflicts
The following points should be considered:
The dog must be obedient and capable of being controlled by its handler at all times.
The dog must have a disposition that allows it to work with bears and should not be aggressive toward people or other animals. This requires intensive training and a strong commitment to maintaining the dog if good performance is expected.
A dog with high energy levels, medium body size (15 to 25 kilograms) and bold behaviour works best. Breeds of the spitz type (karelian bear dogs, laiko and huskies) have been bred for this work for hundreds of years. Individuals from other breeds, such as border collies, heelers and shepherds, may also work well.
A dog might be able to raise the alarm to the presence of a bear or even repel the bear, but a group of dogs could
do so more effectively.
The dog should be kept on leash as much as possible to reduce its ability to tree a bear, incite a fight or herd the bear in an undesirable direction. This also allows the bear time to vacate the area without injury.