Ten things you can do today
How can you help keep bears and people safe? Get involved!
Whether it’s at home, at work, or in the woods, learning how to reduce human-bear conflicts can help prevent property damage, reduce the chance of an unpleasant encounter with a bear, and ensure that bears live long and happy lives.
1. Donate to the Get Bear Smart Society. Your financial support allows us to update and improve our programs — including the best online bear smart resource on the planet, which helps keep bears and people safe all over the world.
2. Clean up your act. The biggest killer of bears is not guns, it’s garbage. Manage your trash and other bear attractants — bird feeders, pet food, BBQs (drip pans/grease cans), fruit trees/berry bushes — securely out of reach of bears. Learn more.
3. Get political. Actively encourage politicians and decision makers to implement bear-proof waste management systems and BearSmart bylaws in your community. Although individual action can help to decrease sources of conflict, nothing works better than a community-wide commitment to make the world safer for both bears and people. Get started on building a bear smart movement in your community.
4. Avoid bears. The best way to keep people and bears safe is to avoid close contact with bears. If you see a bear on the trail, back slowly away and leave the area. Learn more.
5. Be backcountry Bear Smart. Hiking, hunting and paddling in bear country obligates you to take every precaution possible. Make lots of noise, travel in groups, and always secure your food and other attractants well out of reach of your average bear. Learn more.
6. Learn to understand bears. Bears are not ferocious killers. Although they can be dangerous in certain situations, they are largely tolerant animals that would rather avoid people. By learning to understand bear behaviour, you can better avoid or react to potential conflicts.
7. Don’t shoot bears. Lead poisoning is fatal for most bears, especially when delivered at velocities in excess of 1000 feet per second. Bear spray (see below) is a much safer alternative. Report any suspected illegal killing of bears or other wildlife, be it a hunter or poacher or other irresponsible individual.
9. Spread the word and help your neighbours. Many people in your community are not physically able to bear-proof their homes and neighbourhoods. Help seniors and others to secure their garbage and pick ripening fruit so it doesn’t attract bears.
10. Did we mention donating to the Get Bear Smart Society? Or perhaps you’d like to volunteer your time. Be active in your community. Click here to see if there’s a bear aware/smart/wise group in your area. Join or start a Bear Smart organization where you live.