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Human activities in bear territory have increased, leading to more fragmented bear habitats and frequent bear-human encounters.

Bears will consume any available food, regardless of its location in human-use areas or whether it is a natural part of their diet. When bears learn to link humans and human-use areas with easily accessible, high-calorie meals, they become food-conditioned. Preventing these bears from seeking out human food sources in the future is challenging.

Every hiker, camper, angler, or cyclist in bear country plays a vital role in preventing bears from becoming food-conditioned. Practice BearSmart habits: store your food and garbage in bear-proof containers.

Avoid an encounter: the best approach

You can run into a bear anywhere here in Lesser Slave. Bears generally prefer to avoid people. However, encounters between bears and people do occur. The MD has received numerous reports of increased bear sightings and interactions with humans.

Knowing how to avoid an encounter with a bear is the best way to enjoy the region, safely. In the event you do come across a bear, it is important to know a bit about bear behaviour. How we respond in an encounter with a bear really depends on the type of interaction that is taking place.

Bears are extremely sensitive to the stress of human activity. You can help protect them by avoiding encounters with them.

  • Make noise! Let bears know you’re there.
  • Call out, clap, sing or talk loudly especially near streams, dense vegetation and berry patches, on windy days, and in areas of low visibility. Bear bells are not enough.
  • Watch for fresh bear signs. Tracks, droppings, diggings, torn-up logs and turned-over rocks are all signs that a bear has been in the area. Leave the area if the signs are fresh.
  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times or leave it at home. Dogs can provoke defensive behaviour.
  • Larger size groups are less likely to have a serious bear encounter. We recommend hiking in a tight group of four or more.
  • Never let children wander.
  • Use officially marked paths and trails and travel during daylight hours.
  • If you come across a large dead animal, leave the area immediately.
  • Dispose of fish offal in fast moving streams or the deep part of a lake, never along stream

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