Fall is on it’s way which means bears are preparing to bulk up for the winter months and Revelstoke Bear Aware wants everyone to be informed on how to deal with bear encounters as to avoid any people or animals getting hurt.
As fall starts to set in, bears aren’t tucking in with a warm drink, sweater and a good book—they’re active and they’re bulking. Different times of the year come with varying priorities for bears. Heading into the fall, bears start to eat as much as possible. Revelstoke Bear Aware Coordinator Maggie Spizzirri said that it’s not uncommon for some bears to eat as much as 20,000 calories during this time of the year. This makes their favourite local delicacy –garbage– all the more appetizing, which means residents should be aware.
“The number one attractant for bears this time of year is garbage,” said Spizzirri.
The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is especially true of bears. A bear’s sense of smell is different and much stronger than humans. They like the smell of garbage and they can smell it from very far away.
Spizzirri warned that the most common reason that bears are killed is after they’ve become food conditioned. This happens when bears get accustomed to having access to food in specific places. A food-conditioned bear is dangerous because it means they are comfortable in areas with more people, which can make them aggressive. The best way to prevent this is not to store garbage outside until disposal day.
“When you’re out recreating, we always highly recommend –especially this time of year– just to be super loud,” said Spizzirri.
Apart from leaving garbage around your home to attract a bear, surprising a bear is the next important thing to avoid a negative bear encounter.
“You just kind of want to stop, you want to make yourself as big as possible, and you just want to back away nice and slowly,” said Spizzirri.
Spizzirri also recommended visiting Parks Canada’s website for a detailed description of what to do when in contact with a bear.
Spizzirri said that bear safety is easiest when people have as much information as possible. Understanding bear habits, and knowing how to be safe around them makes the whole community safer for the animals and the people.
For more information on bear safety, visit Revelstoke Bear Aware’s website. Or –better yet– meet the team in person for a live Bear Aware event Sunday, Sep. 11. The details for the event can be found on their Facebook page, but the event starts at 2 p.m. in the alley between Skookum Revelstoke Bike & Ski Gear Ltd. and the Regent Hotel. With games, prizes, and a workshop including a live bear spray demonstration, the session should be fun and informative.