Learn about living with bears; creating bear smart communities; recreating in bear country; bear safety at work; and managing bears (for wildlife officials).

Bearsmart Blog

What to do if you meet a bear at home

Bears don’t always cooperate. Despite our best efforts to bear-proof our homes, businesses, and communities, sometimes they show up anyways. Here’s what you can do when it happens to you.

Don’t get close!

Even when bears are being fed, or feeding from birdfeeders, or panhandling from tourists, they are still bears so they will treat you like another bear. The problem is that bears are very physical with each other. Even though they may look and act like a big dog, a sudden miscommunication like trying to pet one may result in a sudden and unavoidable swat or bite. Bears, unlike dogs, take offense at being petted. Bears play by bear rules and know nothing of ours. Close contact between uniformed people and bears is a script for disaster. So the answer is straightforward: don’t get close. – Ben Kilham in Among the Bears (pg 242)

Secure it and they won’t come

The best way to prevent an unpleasant bear encounter is to avoid them altogether. Ensure your home and property are bear-proof by responsibly managing all potential attractants. Consider using bear deterrents or electric fencing as a cost-effective alternative.

Don’t let bears get comfortable on your turf

Some bears become experts at extracting food from human habitats. They haven’t necessarily lost their fear of humans as much as they have become skilled at observing our body language, a natural extension of the way they study each other. I once stood with a group of people watching a bear feeding from a bird feeder sixty feet away; people were talking, some had binoculars, and the bear couldn’t have cared less. But when I stared directly at him and took one step in his direction, he took off. – Ben Kilham in Among the Bears (pg 239)