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 co­olers 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 Le mi­nis­tère on­ta­rien des Res­sources na­tu­relles de­mande aux gens d’être aux aguets lors­qu’ils se pro­mènent dans les parcs pro­vin­ciaux ou fé­dé­raux ou dans tout autre sec­teur boi­sé. Il rap­pelle, entre autres, l’im­por­tance de ne pas lais­ser trai­ner de la nour­ri­ture et de se mu­nir d’une clo­chette lors­qu’on se pro­mène dans la fo­rêt.—pho­to


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