Be bear aware this fall

With snow dusting the mountaintops and winter drawing closer the furry friends who share Sun Peaks with us are preparing to hibernate. Black bears begin hibernation around November and until then may be seen around the village.

You can help reduce conflict with bears with the following tips.

6. Manage your garbage

Garbage cans should be bear resistant. Photo

All garbage should be stored in a secure building or in bear resistant containers. You can make bins less attractive to the animals by regularly washing recycling items and cleaning your bins.

5. Watch out for your pets

Keep pups on a leash and under control while hiking. Photo Zac Farmer.

Feed pets inside whenever possible and ensure food is stored securely. When hiking or walking your dog around the mountain keep them on a leash or under verbal control at all times.

4. Clean those grills

Cleaning grills after use can remove temptation for bears. Photo Tuân Nguyễn Minh.

Thoroughly clean your barbecue after use by burning off the grill. Also remove and clean the grease trap after each use. It’s also a good idea to cover your barbecue as much as possible.

3. Carry tools

Carrying bear spray can protect you if an animal charges. Photo

Carrying and learning how to use tools like bear spray or bear bangers can be valuable. If you  carry bear spray have it somewhere easy to access like a quick release holster, check the expiry date on the can and understand how to properly use it.

2. Be alert

Keep watch when in bear territory. Photo Hans Veth.

When in the bush watch for signs of bears like tracks or scat and talk or sing (your voice carries farther than the jingle of a bear bell). Be especially alert if walking alongside running water or when there is a strong wind as a bear is less likely to hear you and may be startled.

1. If you meet one

If you do run into a bear make sure you know what to do. Photo Michael Maher.

If despite your best efforts you run into a bear assess if the bear is defensive (it may run at you). Hold your ground and speak to the bear in a low but loud voice, you may want to prepare your bear spray by removing the safety.

If the bear charges use the bear spray when it’s between five and ten metres away in a short burst toward the ground. When you are back to safety alert conservation officers to the encounter.