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Wildlife Branch

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Living with Wildlife in Manitoba

Be "Bear Smart" in Bear Country

  • To be safe, avoid all contact with bears.
  • Learn about black bears, their ecology, behaviour, food habits and habitat use.
  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Watch for bear signs: tracks, droppings, turned-up stumps, and claw marks in trees. If possible, keep in the open and avoid bear-activity areas, especially berry patches and carcass remains.
  • Dogs can serve as an early-warning system for detecting the presence of bears, but should be kept on a leash at all times. A poorly trained dog may excite a bear resulting in the bear following the dog back to its owner.
  • Travel with a friend. Or tell someone where you will be.
  • Never let children straggle behind or rush ahead.
  • Be Bear Smart signageMake your presence known by any means available to you. Sight (waving your arms slowly) and/or sound (singing, clapping hands, talking in a calm voice) are good ways. Don't whistle, as it may resemble an animal's call.
  • Do not use audio players with headsets, headphones or earbuds.
  • Do not use cosmetics that emit strong fragrances.
  • Avoid carrying and/or cooking highly odorous food (canned fish, bacon etc.).
  • Backwood users must keep campsites clean. They should store food and unwashed utensils in airtight storage containers to minimize odours and they should pack all remaining garbage for proper disposal. Only if necessary, burn (in approved facilities where fires are allowed) garbage, sanitary materials, cooking grease and food scraps rather than burying them. Become aware of local fire restrictions.
  • Place food, the clothing you cooked in and any synthetic-based odours, (such as perfumes, deodorants, and toothpaste) out of the reach of a bear - not in your tent. Suspend these items at least four meters (15 ft.) off the ground in between two trees and well away from your campsite. If you are camping in or by a vehicle, store all food, cooking clothes and garbage inside the vehicle.
  • Do not dispose of dishwater around or near your tent.
  • Keep cooking vents clean on recreational vehicles and campers.
  • Do not feed birdseed or liquid sugar to birds from late April through October.