Be Bear Wise and avoid bear encounters

Black bears live in most parts of Ontario. Knowing what to do if you encounter a bear is being Bear Wise.

Avoid encounters:

  • Make noise when you move through heavily wooded areas, especially if you are near a stream or waterfall, where bears may not hear you.
  • Singing, whistling or talking will alert bears to your presence, giving them a chance to avoid you.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for signs of a bear like tracks, claw marks
    on trees or droppings.
  • DO NOT wear headphones.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are doing activities
    outside (i.e. hiking, jogging, cycling, gardening, berry picking or camping) where bears may not realize you are there.
  • If you are out with a dog, keep it on a leash. Uncontrolled, untrained dogs may actually lead a bear to you.

Think about safety:

  • Carry a whistle or air horn.
  • Carry and understand how to use bear spray.
  • If you are in “back country” consider carrying a long-handled axe.

If you do spot a bear:

  • Remain calm and do not run, climb a tree or swim.
  • Slowly back away while keeping the bear in sight.
  • Watch the bear and wait for it to leave, if it does not leave wave your
    arms and make noise.
  • If you are near a building or vehicle, get inside as precaution.

What to do if an encounter results in an attack:

  • Use bear spray.
  • Fight back with everything you have.
  • Do not play dead unless you are sure a mother bear is attacking in defence of her cubs.