Bear Do's and Don'ts
Black bears are very common and may have
become habituated to human food and garbage in many areas. While the chances of being
injured by a black bear are very low, most human injuries are associated with black bears
which have been eating human food or garbage. In addition to being illegal, feeding bears,
intentionally or unintentionally, increases the potential for human injury and private
property damage. In many cases, this results in the death of a bear. Ultimately,
Fed Bear is a Dead Bear!
You can help ensure the well-being of bears and their
habitat by following the guidelines listed below. Learning to live with bears is
fundamental to the quality of life to be enjoyed by visitors and residents in bear
Never, Never, feed bears or leave food out for pets, or
other wild creatures to lure them up close for that perfect photo. Bears and other animals
will return in an attempt to get another free meal after you have gone home. Often, the
next visitor has to deal with a problem which you may have created.
Dispose of your trash in bear proof containers, if
Do not overfill or stack garbage outside of the container. Be sure that the
latches engage after closing the door. If bear proof containers are not available, store
your garbage in your garage or similar structure until trash day. If curbside garbage pick
up is provided, put your trash out on the morning it will be picked up. While most garbage
can shelters are attractive, they are not bear proof.
DO make birdfeeders and bird food
inaccessible by discontinuing the feeding of birds from late March
through November or by hanging feeders at least ten feet above the
ground and six feet away from tree trunks.
DO eliminate food attractants by
placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed. Add ammonia to trash
to make it unpalatable.
DO clean and store grills away after
feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to finding food near year
home may become ďproblem bears.
DONíT leave pet food outside
DONíT add meat or sweets to a
IF YOU ENCOUNTER A BEAR...
DO NOT RUN.
This may stimulate a bears instinct to
chase and attack.
IF THE BEAR HAS NOT SEEN YOU,
stay calm, and back away slowly
and give the bear room to escape. Talk out loud to make sure the bear is aware of your
THE BEAR HAS SEEN YOU,
back away slowly while facing the
bear. If you have small children with you, pick them up so that they dont run or
panic. Give the bear plenty of room to escape.
TRY TO SHOW THE BEAR
that you may be a danger to it. Make
yourself appear larger, stand tall, open a jacket or shirt, yell, bang pots or pans, make
a general commotion.
FIGHT BACK IF A BEAR ATTACKS
Use rocks, sticks,
binoculars, cameras or any object that is available.
REPORT AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IMMEDIATELY.
Call your local
Department of Fish and Game Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. After hours
call the local police or sheriffs office and ask to be put in contact with the local
Department of Fish and Game.
BEARS SEEN WHEN HIKING OR CAMPING
Bears normally leave an area once theyíve sensed a
human. If you see a bear, enjoy it from a distance. Aggression by bears
towards humans is exceptionally rare.
DO make your presence known by making
noise and waving your arms if you see a bear while hiking.
DO keep dogs on a leash and under
control. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or
DO walk away slowly if you surprise a
DONíT cook food near your tent or store food inside
your tent. Instead, keep food in a secure vehicle or use rope to
suspend it between two trees.
DONíT climb a tree, but wait in a vehicle or building for the
bear to leave an area.
BEARS, LIVESTOCK AND BEEHIVES
Bears occasionally attack livestock and damage beehives.
DO protect livestock with electric fencing and move
livestock into barns at night if possible.
DO reinforce beehives to prevent them from being
knocked over or protect them with electric fencing.
DO report bear sightings
Experience has shown that a single wandering bear can be responsible
for numerous sightings reported to the Wildlife Division. Experience has
also shown that, given an avenue for escape, bears will usually wander
back into more secluded areas. People should not feed bears, either
intentionally or unintentionally. Bears that associate food with people
become problem bears that will not be tolerated by all property owners.
The probability of a bear attacking a human is exceptionally low.
Therefore, the mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal.
However, state or federal agencies may attempt to remove bears from urban locations when
there is little likelihood that they will leave on their own and when
they are in positions where darting is feasible.
Source: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
& the California Department of Parks
and Recreation, The California Department of Fish & Game, and The US Forest Service
Department of Agriculture.