The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry wants to remind the public to be safe and to be Bear Wise this summer season. Conservation officers say it takes all cottagers working together to get rid of nuisance bear problems.

Cottages are always at risk of bear problems, and the ministry wants to help locals and visitors by giving information and advice to the public.

Most human-bear conflicts happen when bears are attracted by smells and rewarded with an easy meal. When bears pick up a scent with their keen noses, they will investigate. If bears are rewarded with feasts of bird food, garbage or pet food they will return. It takes all cottagers working together to get rid of bear problems.

Garbage is the number one reason bears are drawn to properties, followed by bird feed, suet and nectar. Whether you are closing the cottage for the season, or just between stays, take a few simple precautions to avoid problems with bears and other animals:

- Never leave garbage behind. If you must leave before garbage day, or if you do not have curbside collection, take your garbage with you when you go. Take it to an approved waste disposal site.

- Fill bird feeders only through the winter months.

- Never feed bears (or other wildlife) or try to approach them.

- Put garbage in containers that have tight-fitting lids, and only put it out on garbage day, not the night before.

- Store garbage in a bear-resistant container, secure shed or garage. Do not store garbage in plywood boxes, old freezers or vehicles.

- Do not stockpile garbage. Take it to an approved waste disposal site regularly. n Keep meat scraps in the freezer until garbage day.

- Remove grease and food residue from barbecue grills, including the grease trap, after each use.

- Do not put meat, fish or sweet food (including fruit) in your composter.

- Pick all ripe fruit off trees, and remove vegetables and fallen fruit from the ground.

- Encourage your neighbours to practise Bear Wise habits.

- If you rent your cottage, tell your tenants the importance of being Bear Wise, and make these tips available. 

You are responsible for your own personal safety. Take precautions when you are outdoors.

If you would like to report a bear problem, call 1-866-514-2327. If your personal safety is at risk, call 911 or the local police.

For more information:
Ministry reminds residents to be bear wise

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