Managing and avoiding bear encounters

Bears and humans love the same habitats. There is a good chance you may encounter a bear in your backyard or on the trails in Whistler. Being aware and prepared can help prevent potentially dangerous situations for humans and bears.

It is normal to be frightened when you encounter a bear, but remember that most bears prefer to avoid contact with humans.

The best way to prevent an unpleasant bear encounter is to avoid them altogether.

How to avoid a bear encounter

Follow these tips to avoid bear encounters and help keep bears and people safe.

  1. Avoid moving through bear habitat silently or alone—instead, travel in groups and make noise.
  2. Avoid walking or biking on trails at dawn and dusk.
  3. Do not stop on the side of the road to view bears.
  4. Never feed or approach a bear. Keep your distance, back away slowly and leave the area.
  5. Manage your garbage and recycling, so bears can’t access it. Put all garbage and recycling in wildlife-proof containers or enclosures.
  6. Manage other attractants, such as barbeques, bird feeders and fruit and berry bushes. Keep them clean or out of reach, so they don’t tempt bears to hang around human-inhabited areas.
  7. Keep your dog on a leash. Dogs can provoke defensive and dangerous behaviour in bears

The main reason a bear will come near your home or place of work is for garbage, recycling or other food sources.

It is very important (and it’s the law in Whistler) to secure garbage and recycling in a wildlife-proof manner and keep other bear attractants clean and/or out of reach. View Whistler’s Solid Waste Bylaw for details.

What to do if you encounter a bear

Understanding the bear’s behaviour can help how you decide to react in a defensive or aggressive encounter.

Know what to do in case of an encounter

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