Be Bear Wise, Not Bear Scared

It won’t be long before black bears come out from hibernation looking for food

A large black bear suddenly appearing in your backyard, or along a trail, can be an intimidating sight. However, they may be just as scared of you as you are of them.

With the seasonal hibernation period soon coming to an end, along with a dearth of natural habitat for bears to enjoy, the chances are good the large mammals could find themselves foraging through or outright stealing your garbage.

That’s why it’s super important to lock your recycling, compost, and garbage in bear-proof bins.

As well, put your bird feeders away during the spring and summer, explains Mike McIntosh of Bear With Us – a rehabilitation sanctuary for bears.

To avoid any unnecessarily dangerous situations, try scaring the bear away with loud noises (think clattering pots and pans, or other loud bangs).

Black bears are more likely to run away than attack (unlike Grizzlies, which don’t live in Muskoka). 

Another fun fact: bears don’t growl, despite what fictional bears in movies and television may have incorrectly taught us.

Rather, they make many other sounds, like moans, whines, clacking their teeth, says Mike. See the video below to hear how a bear talks.

They also use actions like a bluff charge to let you know they’re uncomfortable with your presence.

Chris has had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Mike over the years about black bears for articles and podcasts.

There is a lot to learn from Mike, who has over 22 years of experience working with injured and orphaned black bears to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into their natural habitat.

Have a listen now to the last time Mike and Chris chatted about black bears, or download and listen later.

Part 1

Part 2

Thanks to The Bay 88.7 FM for the studio time and production.

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