Living with bears in the yard

A yearling bear appeared in our garden
Boris the bear on his last visit

Last week we had a visitor. This one was hairier and hungrier than most of those we get (I am excluding some of my son’s friends in this!). It was a yearling black bear and it was our first close encounter with a bear. Actually it had become a bit of a sore point with us. We were beginning to wonder if we could call ourselves truly Canadian if we hadn’t seen a bear!

In Vancouver, particularly on the north shore where there’s wilderness literally on your doorstep, bears are a fact of life.

There seem to be two reactions to bears:

  1. Love them.
  2. Hate them.

If you love them, then seeing one up close and personal tends to prompt mixed emotions. They can be cute, but if they are in your yard then it is likely that they’ve become used to humans and are becoming a nuisance. Once bears start foraging for food in human habitat there’s usually only one outcome – the bear has to be destroyed. (Relocation is the first step, but it seems that many bears eventually make their way back).

If you hate them, then the best thing you can do is to avoid creating any bear attractants in your area. This advice goes for those who love bears too.

That means:

  • store all garbage indoors or in a secure enclosure
  • put your garbage out on the morning of collection
  • remove your birdfeeders
  • clean your bbq after each use
  • keep your pet food inside
  • pick ripe fruit and vegetables and clean up the windfalls
  • keep your fridge and freezer inside (many people have second ones in their carports)

And if you do see a bear in the yard then you can make loud noises and try and scare them off.

We personally like living in an area that we can share with bears. It does mean some inconvenience, mainly with garbage, but that seems a small price to pay. After all the bears were here before we came. And they don’t do any harm.

What are your thoughts on living with bears?

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