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Port Hardy Bear Smart Community Program
Bear proof your home
- Never store your garbage outside, unless it is in an approved bear-proof container or bear-proof enclosure.
- Recycling : wash and store recycling indoors or in a bear-proof enclosure.
- Do not put garbage curb-side until morning of pick-up.
- It may only take one time to condition a bear to human garbage.
- Do not store food in outdoor fridges or freezers.
- Coolers : store all coolers indoors, even clean empty ones.
- See District of Port Hardy Garbage and Recycling Bylaw.
- Do not use bird feeders in bear country.
- Use bird baths or plant red or pink native flowers that are known to appeal to hummingbirds.
- Burn barbecue and clean immediately after use.
- Store them indoors, if possible leave the propane tank outside.
- Always remove the grease can and store it indoors.
- Do not leave any food unattended outside, the smell from barbecuing travels a long distance.
- Feed your pets inside and store their food inside. If you must feed pets outside, remove all food and food bowls after feeding.
- Do not leave dog bones lying around in your yard.
Domestic Livestock – Follow Good Husbandry Practices:
- Bring livestock in at night.
- Clear brush at fence line so there’s no hiding place for predators.
- Secure livestock feed.
- Electrify paddock/coop.
Fruit Trees :
- Harvest fruits as soon as they ripen.
- Remove fallen fruit from the ground.
- Electric fence orchards & bee hives in areas where bears are a problem.
- Plant non-fruit bearing trees/shrubs when landscaping.
- See District of Port Hardy Garbage & Recycling Bylaw.
- Camping, hiking, fishing and hunting often puts you in the bear’s environment.
- Do not camp where fresh bear sign is found (i.e. scat, fresh diggings, claw marks on trees, tracks).
- If camping in a campsite within or near municipal boundaries, make sure you use a bear-resistant waste container for your garbage.
- Pack all garbage out including all food scraps.
- Store all food and other attractants securely in your car or in a bear-proof food cache.
If you see a bear…
- Do not Run: bears can easily outrun you. By running you may trigger an attack. Pick up small children and when possible stay in a group. Back away slowly and talk softly.
- Give the Bear Space: back away slowly and talk in a soft voice. Do not approach a bear or make direct eye contact.
- Leave the Area or Make a Wide Detour: if you cannot leave, wait until the bear moves out of the way and ensure that the bear has an escape route.
- If the Bear Rears Up: it is curious and trying to see you or catch your scent better. It is not a sign of aggression. Back away slowly and talk softly.
- Watch for Aggressive Behaviors: a bear may display aggression by swinging its head from side to side, making vocalizations such as huffs, snorts, whoops, or moans, displaying teeth or claws; jaw popping; swatting at the ground; staring with eye contact; panting; or laying its ears back. These behaviors usually indicate that the bear is stressed, acting defensively and asking for more space. Attacks rarely follow but this is a warning to leave the area!
To report a human-bear conflict
To report a bear encounter where public safety is at risk call the Conservation Officer Service at: 1. 877. 952. RAPP (7277).
When you report bear activity to the Conservation Officer Service, it provides the opportunity to work proactively together to fix the problem before it gets out of control. Reports of dangerous wildlife (bears) in the community may NOT result in the removal of the animal, in fact, if reported soon enough, Conservation Officers, municipal workers and community volunteers can often change human behavior before it results in the removal of the animal.
Support your local government with their endeavor to become an official Bear Smart Community. Remember, it takes the entire community to make change!
For more information on:
- The Ministry of Environment Bear Smart Community Program
- How to Bear Proof Your Property
- How to Become a Volunteer with the Port Hardy Bear Smart Committee
Crystal McMillan, MA
Bear Smart BC Consulting