Police & the Community


Bear Wise by The Ministry of Natural Resources

Bear Wise by The Ministry of Natural Resources
June 13th, 2017 - Police & the Community

The Ministry of Natural Resources’ Bear Wise program operates a toll-free Bear Reporting Line which is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week between April and November.  Callers will speak with trained staff that are able to assess the situation and determine the appropriate response. Please visit the Ministry of Natural Resources website for information on tips to help prevent bear encounters in our community. 

To contact the Bear Wise reporting line call 1-866-514-2327 for non-emergency situations.  If you feel a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety call 9-1-1

Bear Wise Information Pamphlet- EN
Bear Wise Information Pamphlet- FR

How can you prevent conflicts with black bears:

Remove Bear Attractants


  • put garbage out only on the morning of garbage day, not the night before
  • put garbage in containers that have tight-fitting lids and store it in a bear-proof location such as your basement or a sturdy garage
  • spray garbage cans and lids with bleach or another a strong disinfectant 
  • take garbage to the dump often, if you do not have curbside pick-up

Bird feeders

  • fill bird feeders only through the winter months
  • put away feeders in the spring and instead, offer birds natural alternatives (e.g. flowers, nesting boxes, fresh water)

Pet food

  • Do not leave pet food outdoors, in screened- in areas or porches

Fruits and berries

  • pick all ripe and fallen fruit from trees and shrubs on your property
  • plant non-fruit bearing trees and shrubs


  • burn off food residue and wash the grill right away
  • empty the grease trap every time you barbecue
  • remove all utensils, dishes and food after eating

Avoid Bear-Human Interactions

  • travel in groups of 2 or more (bears primarily attack people who are alone)
  • make noise as you move through areas where visibility is restricted or where background noise is high, such as near streams and waterfalls (e.g., singing, whistling or talking will alert bears to your presence, giving them a chance to avoid you)
  • while outdoors, keep your eyes and ears open
    • scan your surroundings to check for bears
    • do not wear music headphones
    • watch for signs of bear activity (e.g., tracks, claw marks on trees, flipped- over rocks or fresh bear droppings)
    • if you are out with a dog, leash it (uncontrolled, untrained dogs may actually lead a bear to you)
    • pay attention, especially if you are working, gardening or berry picking
    • occasionally scan your surroundings to check for bears
    • rise slowly if you are in a crouched position so that you don’t startle nearby bears

Be Prepared

  • carry a whistle or air horn
  • learn how to use bear pepper spray and carry it somewhere that’s easy to access
  • be aware of your surroundings, looking for clues of bear activity

What to do if you encounter a black bear: 

Stop. Do not panic. Remain calm.

Quickly assess the situation and try to determine which type of an encounter this might be – sighting, surprise or close encounter.

  • do not try to get closer to the bear for a better look or picture
  • make sure the bear has a clear escape route — don’t corner a bear
  • always watch the bear and slowly back away until the bear is out of sight
  • get inside, if you are near a building or vehicle
  • leave the area, if you are berry-picking, hiking, camping, jogging or cycling
  • if you are with others, stay together and act as a group
  • if the bear does not get closer to you, slowly back away, talking to the bear in a quiet, monotone voice

Talk to Kids: Bears in School Yard

1) If you see a bear on or around school property:

  • GO INSIDE the school right away
  • TELL the first adult you see

2) If the bear sees YOU: 

  • DON'T APPROACH the bear
  • SLOWLY BACK AWAY toward the school
  • TELL the first adult you see

3) If the bear MOVES TOWARD you: 

  • SLOWLY BACK AWAY toward the school while MAKING NOISE
  • Remove and drop your backpack if it contains food
  • YELL at the bear to GO AWAY! (But DO NOT SCREAM)
  • DO NOT "play dead"
  • DO NOT turn and run
  • GET INSIDE the school as soon as you can, without running
  • TELL the first adult you see

4) Help keep bears away:

  • Keep your lunch inside the school
  • Do not leave food, wrappings or lunch bags in the schoolyard. Take them inside the school to throw away
  • Tell your teacher if you see food or garbage left in open bins or in the schoolyard

* Information provided by Government of Ontario- Bear Wise