When enjoying Ontario’s campsites, lakes, forests, and hiking trails this holiday weekend, remember that you’re in the natural habitat of black bears.
Bears have a keen sense of smell, and are attracted by the odour of human food and garbage.
To avoid conflicts with bears, prepare . . . and be aware.
Know before you go:
•You are responsible for your own safety. Plan your trip with safety in mind.
Before you go, learn about black bears, signs of bear activity (like tracks and scat), and how to prevent and handle encounters with bears.
•If you are bringing children, always keep an eye on them.
When hiking, it is wise to keep children between adults.
•Before you leave home, discuss bears with children.
Teach children simple things, like making sure they can always see an adult; to never approach a bear or other animals; to never run from a bear; and if they see a bear to stay calm and call for help.
•If you plan on bringing a dog, verify whether there are any rules that prohibit dogs or require them to be on a leash.
•All food odours can attract bears. Pack all food, including dog food, with special care.
Double or triple bag food to reduce smells. Consider choosing meals that require minimal preparation.
•Think about how you will handle your garbage, and how you will keep your campsite clean and odour-free.
Pack a couple of long ropes for hanging your food pack. Practise hanging a pack before you go.
•Think about bringing a whistle, air horn, long-handled axe, or bear spray.
If you bring bear spray, know how to use it.
The Ministry of Natural Resources or Ontario Parks can provide general information about recent campsite or route closures due to bear problems.
Keep in mind, however, that bear activity cannot be predicted.
To report bear problems, call 1-866-514-2327.
In a life-threatening emergency, call your local police or 9-1-1.
For more information, visit ontario.ca/bearwise