A closeup of a black bear.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

What Should You Do If You See a Bear?

Run-ins with bears go up in the spring and summer

Here are some tips on how to keep your family safe in bear country

It’s bear season again! But we live on VanIsle, so it’s bear season all year. Folks have seen bears out and about from Port Alice to Port Alberni. And now that the weather is (slowly) getting better, more people will be out on the trails where the bears live.

Bear encounters go up in the spring and summer. Like us, they get more active when the weather gets better. And Mama bears have new cubs—no one is ready to fight like a mama bear.

North Island conservation officer Brad Adams has some tips on how to keep you and your family safe when you’re outdoors.

You can start by making noise, he told My Comox Valley Now. Basically you don’t want to see a bear in the first place, and it’s good to scare them off.

If you’re loud, the bears will know you’re nearby, and they’ll move on. “Maybe putting your music on your device, so that it’s loud, and that will actually help wildlife in the area know that there’s somebody coming.”

You can also watch for other signs, like ravens or crows circling around an area. They might be flying around an animal that has just been killed, and that just might be the bear’s lunch.

If you do see a bear, stay calm. Slowly back away and talk to the bear with a quiet voice. It might be hard to keep it together, but don’t scream, turn your back, or make direct eye contact.

Also, DO NOT move closer to the bear. Don’t stop to take a picture for Facebook. It’s not worth the risk.

If you are with other people, stay together. Pick up and carry any small children.

It also helps to make sure the bear has a way to escape. They don’t like to be cornered. Keep an eye on it until it leaves.

Once the bear has moved on, make sure there is nothing nearby that might bring it back. Pack up any food, and pack out garbage until you find a bear-safe bin.

For more ways to stay safe in bear country, click here.