Be Bear Wise to Prevent Bear Encounters
Public should exercise caution as bears come out of hibernation
April 03, 2023
Natural Resources and Forestry
Table of Contents
- Quick Facts
- Additional Resources
- Related Topics
The Ontario government and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) remind you to exercise caution as black bears begin to come out of hibernation this spring.
Bears waking from hibernation face a lack of natural food sources, leading them to look for food in garbage cans and bird feeders.
You can prevent bears from visiting your home and neighbourhood by:
- Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids (indoors if possible)
- Waiting until pickup day to put out garbage
- Taking away bird feeders for the spring and summer (you can offer birds natural alternatives, such as flowers, nesting boxes and fresh water)
- Cleaning food residue and grease from outdoor barbecue grills – including grease traps – after each use
- Keeping pet food indoors
Bears entering your community are not necessarily a threat, but it is important to know who to call if you encounter one. The province operates a non-emergency, toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327). The line is open 24/7 from April 1 to November 30.
If a bear is posing an immediate threat by showing threatening or aggressive behaviour, remain calm and call 911 or your local police department.
- Visit Bear Wise to learn more about how to avoid attracting bears and what to do if you encounter one.
- Bears will remember their last source of food and return there when hungry, sometimes travelling over 100 kilometres.
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