That’s not Yogi Bear out there
This year has seen at least one wandering bear situation in the Prescott-Russell region. Close-encounter incidents in other parts of Ontario have prompted the Ministry of Natural Resources to re-issue its Be Bear Wise advice for camping pamphlet through email alerts to media.
The main point the pamphlet emphasizes is that anyone camping in either provincial or national parks in Ontario or in any other forested area of the province should learn how to recognize bear activity where they are by recognizing bear tracks, scat or droppings, or claw marks on a tree trunk where a bear has marked its territory. Ontario is home to black bears, which are smaller than the grizzlies native to Western Canada, but which can be just as dangerous under the wrong circumstances.
Get information about whether or not bears are local to a camping area. Heed any warnings posted about bear activity in the area. That includes keeping a campsite clean and as odour-free as possible to avoid attracting any bears looking for food. Clean any fish caught during a camping trip well away from the camp site and throw the guts into the lake or river. Do not bury them. Bears have a good sense of smell and will dig up the site then go look around for more food nearby.
All food should be double- or triplebagged and kept in secure and air-tight cool- ers which are kept away from the sleeping area, whether it is a tent or a camper. Best to bring a long rope to tie around a cooler and hang it up in a tree out of reach of a bear. An RV should have an airtight fridge or freezer unit inside for storing meats and other foods which can produce a smell that would attract bears. Burn any food scraps and fat drippings in an open fire.
When hiking, keep children with the adults and any dogs on a leash. Do not let dogs run loose. If they find a bear, they may end up bringing it back with them if they annoy it. Also, do not wear perfume or strong cologne, as the scent may attract a bear.
Carry a whistle, air horn, or bell, and use it every now and then while out hiking. A bear will avoid humans if it has a chance to do so. When meeting a bear by surprise on the trail, do not run. Instead back away slow and steady, while keeping quiet and watching the bear to see what it does.
Pack several bear spray canisters, and make sure to know how to use it, if necessary, but do not rely on bear spray to drive a bear away. Bear spray can distract or deter a bear and allow the user time to get away from the area.
Both adults and children need to understand that a bear is a wild animal, not something safe to approach close for touching or a photo opportunity.
For more advice, including updated information on park or wilderness areas with bear sighting advisories, go to www.ontario. ca/bearwise or phone 1-866-514-2327.
Cette année a vu au moins une situation d’ours errante dans la région de Prescott-Russell. Les incidents de proximité dans d’autres parties de l’Ontario ont incité le ministère des Richesses naturelles à remettre en cause ses conseils Be Bear Wise pour le pamphlet de camping par courrier électronique aux médias.