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


Managing Bears

managing bears with non-lethal tactics

NOTE: This section is geared toward professional wildlife managers, but it also contains a great deal of good information that may be useful for members of the general public. But, please do not approach bears without the proper training and tools.

Thousands of bears are killed each year in North America. Traditionally, wildlife officials have managed human-bear conflict situations through hunting regulations, destruction and relocation, but these methods have not prevented conflicts or even reduced their numbers.

As people move into bear country in unprecedented numbers, there is increased concern for public safety, biodiversity conservation and property damage. The ineffectiveness of traditional conflict-reduction methods and the need to maximize resources point to a clear need for a new approach.

In order to successfully reduce and manage human-bear conflicts, it is first necessary to minimize the number of potentially dangerous encounters through effective waste management, education and enforcement.

It is equally important to deal with any remaining conflicts in a non-lethal manner. Non-lethal alternatives provide an effective management tool and incorporate a more holistic, long-term approach to bear management.

A problem for bears is not so much what we don’t know, it’s what we think we know that isn’t true. – Dr. Lynn Rogers

The decisions we make about how we will manage bears depend on our attitudes and values related to bears. Because black and grizzly bears did and will continue to inflict occasional serious injury on people, they must create benefits for other people to counterbalance the trauma that they bring to a few…. Most people, I believe are willing to accept the slight chance of injury in order to maintain both species of bears.

– Steve Herrero in Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance (pg 247)