Bear Insight - For Better Living Alongside Bears

Bear Insight - For Better Living Alongside Bears

The Bear Facts: This is the season when bears are well into their hyper-eating phase of the year. They’re all focused on a final push to gain weight for the winter, notably to store a thick layer of fat that they will need for energy and warmth, and for female bears to give birth to and nurse their cubs. Don’t let attractants around your home lure bears into conflicts with people. Here are a few tips for the season:

  • Remove and secure garbage and other attractants including pet food, birdseed and livestock feed. Store these in a secure area such as your basement or an enclosed garage.
  • Pick fruit as soon as it is ripe. If fruit falls on the ground, pick it up daily. Some fruit can be picked early and ripened indoors.
  • Remove bird feeders when bears are active.

You can help to create a safer community for people and bears.
For detailed information about preventing conflicts and staying safe around bears, cougars and other wildlife visit

Conservation Officer Service: To report a serious wildlife conflict, call toll free 1-877-952-7277.

The Bear Facts: It Takes a Community to Keep Bears Wild By Debbie Wellwood

A flurry of reports to the BC Conservation Office Service, and the actions taken, indicates that this year is shaping up to be a bad year for conflicts between people and bears in the Bulkley Valley. But the outcomes for the remainder of the season bears are active need not be undesirable, or even disastrous, for people or bears. Most conflicts with bears are preventable. But it takes an engaged and dedicated community to keep bears wild.

In a given year, various factors can contribute to an increase in the frequency and intensity of conflicts between people and bears, such as a decrease in well-used natural food sources like berry crops or salmon runs that they usually rely on, or an increase in the number of young bears that have recently left their mothers, and are learning to find food on their own.

With the unusual weather this year, the odds are that some berry crops will be poor. It’s a bad mix for people and bears when bruins are challenged to find natural foods, and people offer up easy alternatives. Late summer and fall are typically the most challenging time of year for human-bear conflicts in the Bulkley Valley. So if major actions are not taken now, the situation could get much worse. If everyone who reads this recruits their friends and neighbours, and asks them to pass these messages along too, maybe, just maybe, we can turn what’s looking like a rough year into one that’s worth celebrating.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Garbage: Store garbage in garbage bags in a sealed garbage bin in a secure building. Put garbage out for pickup in the daylight hours on the morning of pickup. Don’t let it sit outside overnight. Wash garbage bins frequently.
  • Bird Feeders: When bears are active, take bird feeders down, and store bird food in a secure building.
  • Gardens & Fruit Trees: Harvest vegetables and fruits as soon as possible. Don’t let fruit fall and sit on the ground.
  • Compost: Compost effectively. See this website: ( If bears are interested in compost, as an interim measure, limit composting to leaves and grass clippings. Poorly composting fruit, in particular, will be attractive to bears.
  • Pet Food: Store pet food in airtight containers in a secure building. Feed pets indoors. If you feed pets outdoors, remove leftover food as soon as they are finished.
  • Barbecues: Burn excess grease off the grill. Wash the grill after each use. Clean all areas where grease is trapped. Ideally, store your barbecue in a secure building like an enclosed garage. Otherwise, use a barbecue cover, and store it in a sheltered area that is out of the wind.

For more information about preventing conflicts with bears and other wildlife species visit these websites:
Province of B.C.:

WildSafeBC:  WildSafeBC also hosts the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (W.A.R.P.) for information about wildlife reports in your area.

Conservation Officer Service: To report a serious wildlife conflict, call toll free 1-877-952-7277.


Please click here to view the PDF:  The Bear Facts: It Takes a Community to Keep Bears Wild By Debbie Wellwood


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Director of Finance

Smithers Active Transportation Plan

posted 31 Jan 2019

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