World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

June 07, 2005 10:45 ET

Summer Safety Tips That Bear Repeating

Bear Safe tips for Hikers, Campers, Cottagers and Rural Homeowners Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor, Travel/Tourism Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 7, 2005) - Bear Safe Tips for Hikers

• Find out before setting out if there has been any bear activity along your planned route.
• Stay alert! Watch for bears and bear signs (claw marks on trees, tracks in the dirt, bear droppings, trampled vegetation, overturned rocks or broken-up rotted logs).
• Warn bears of your presence by talking loudly or singing.
• Hike during daylight hours in as large a group as possible and stick together.
• Carry red pepper bear spray or another deterrent and know how to use it.

Bear Safe Tips for Campers

• Garbage should be deposited in bear-proof containers or stored in your vehicle or trailer until it can be dumped.
• If camping in the back country, place all food, garbage in plastic bags and hang suspended between two trees (at least 6 to 8 metres apart, 4 metres above the ground, and 200 metres away from your camp.)
• Never bring food or odoured non-food items into your tent-this includes toothpaste, perfume and chocolate bars.
• Avoid canned foods with strong odours, such as tuna. Burn food scraps and wash tins after eating.
• Cooking areas should be well away from your tents (at least 50 metres downwind.)
• Wash all dishes immediately after eating. Dump waste water in a designated grey water disposal site or well away from your campsite.
• Make your camp away from natural paths and streams as bears are likely to use these routes. Camping next to a river or stream makes it hard for bears to hear you.
• Avoid setting up camp near natural bear food sources. Never camp near an animal carcass, garbage, berry bushes bearing fruit or where you've observed bear sign (claw marks on trees, tracks in the dirt, bear droppings, trampled vegetation, overturned rocks or broken-up rotted logs).
• Pitch tents in a line or semicircle facing your cooking areas. You will be more likely to spot a bear that wanders into your camp and it will have a clear escape route.
• Investigate your site before setting up. If you detect garbage or food strewn in the bushes or obvious bear signs do not make camp.

Bear Safe Tips for Cottagers and Rural Homeowners

• Don't leave food, garbage or pet-food accessible for bears. Store garbage indoors or outside in bear-proof containers. Garbage should be hauled to a dump-site at least twice a week to avoid odours. If there is garbage pick-up in your area, put it out an hour or two before the garbage truck arrives. If you're leaving several days before the scheduled pick-up, haul your garbage to the dump.
• The bones and waste parts of fish and meat give off strong odours. Store them in the freezer until it's garbage day or time to visit the dump.
• Be alert when barbecuing. If bears are nearby, they may be attracted by the smell. Keep barbecue grills clean and free from grease. Store your barbecue covered and out of the wind or inside if possible.
• Avoid bird feeders. Birdseed, suet and hummingbird mixes may attract bears.
• Don't put fish, meat or fruit into your compost. Use lime to reduce odours. Enclose all composts, fruit trees, and beehives with chain link or electric fencing.
• Pick fruit daily from trees on your property even if you don't plan to eat it. Rotting fruit left on the ground is a powerful bear attractant.
• It is best to keep pets inside at night. Don't leave petfood outside.

For more Bear Safe tips, including information on how to manage bear encounters or attacks, see

Bear Safe, first launched in 1997, was developed by the World Society for the Protection of Animals in order to foster a greater understanding of bears and their acceptance as a desired part of the Canadian wilderness. By teaching people how to properly dispose of food and garbage, WSPA hopes to reduce human-bear conflict, thereby reducing the number of bears shot as problem bears. IN: ENVIRONMENT

Contact Information

  • Pat Tohill, Campaigns and Communications Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals
    Primary Phone: 416-898-9448
    Secondary Phone: 416-369-0044
    Toll-Free: 800-363-9772