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