The whole thing about bears is that their entire life revolves around food. When they are not hibernating, bears spend most of their time looking for food. They aren’t looking for people to eat – nope – but they’re looking for almost everything else. And they will look through and otherwise upend most containers they come across. Tents and such count as containers.
We’ve had several bear sightings around the area of Superior Media’s studios – In the spring we had quite a few. It would seem that black bears are starting to make the rounds again, because Superior Media’s Riley Smith snapped the two pics featured on her way home from work earlier today. Industrial Park Cresc. has some pretty good hiding places for bears.
We all have to take heed and remind ourselves that it is – in fact – fall weather starting and bears are on the move. They prefer not to interact with us. But they are around.
They get most of their food energy by feeding on summer berry crops like blueberries, raspberries, and cherries. In the fall, they turn their attention to hazel nuts, mountain ash, acorns and beech nuts.
Pulling down a bird feeder or knocking over a barbecue is not uncommon. Bears dig birdseed.
Though black bears will eat carrion, insects, fish, deer fawns and moose calves, the bulk of their diet is plant material. Their natural preference is to find lots of high energy food – like berry patches – that will help them fatten up fast. Their survival and ability to have and raise young depend on their ability to put on weight before going into winter hibernation. And that is happening with increasing urgency as the temperatures continue to drop at night.
When natural food sources are poor, black bears will travel long distances to seek out alternative sources of food.
If they learn that they can find food where people live, bears will return again and again. Relocation and destruction are poor ways of trying to prevent conflicts with bears.
If you do find yourself in a dangerous situation with a bear, there are a number of things you can do including Call 911 or your local police. If you feel a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety and may be doing one of the things listed below, it is a good idea to reach out to police. If a bear:
- enters a school yard when school is in session
- enters or tries to enter a residence
- wanders into a public gathering
- kills livestock/pets and lingers at the site
- stalks people and lingers at the site
The MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) recommend that you DO NOT do the following:
- turn your back on the bear
- kneel down
- make direct eye contact
- climb a tree
- retreat into water or try and swim — a bear can do these things much better than you
- wave your arms to make yourself look bigger and yell at the bear to go away
- throw objects
- blow a whistle or an air horn
- make noise to try and persuade the bear to leave
- prepare to use bear pepper spray
If the bear keeps advancing toward you
- Stand your ground
- Use your bear pepper spray (if the bear is close) or anything else you can find or use to threaten or distract the bear
- Fight back as if your life depends on it
If the bear attacks
- use your pepper spray
- fight back with everything you have — in a predatory attack, your life is at risk
- do not play dead except in the rare instance when you are sure a mother bear is attacking you in defense of cubs and your initial attempts to deter the bear have been unsuccessful (especially true for children or small-bodied adults)
After the bear leaves
- tell others about bear activity in the area
- if the bear was eating from a non-natural food source (like garbage or bird food), remove or secure the item that attracted the bear
Lethal force (dispatch a bear)
It’s best to prevent encounters with bears before doing anything else.
But if you’ve exhausted all alternatives you have the right to protect your personal property and yourself. Any action you take must be:
- carried out using the most humane means possible
- done in a safe manner
- in accordance with any applicable laws (e.g., discharging a firearm by-laws)
You do not need a hunting licence to use lethal force. But if you kill a black bear and do not intend to keep it, you must report it immediately to your local Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry office.
If you kill a black bear and want to keep the dead animal for personal use, you must register for a Notice of Possession with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Killing a bear in self-defence must be an action of last resort. https://www.ontario.ca/page/prevent-bear-encounters-bear-wise