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Safety Information on Bears


With the current sightings of Black Bears Port Hope Police are providing information on how to deal with a bears foraging in the Urban Municipality. Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)


Non-emergency situations:


A black bear observed/reported:

Roaming around checking garbage cans

Breaking into a shed containing attractants

Damaging vehicles containing attractants

Being up in a tree

Pulling down a bird feeder or knocking over a barbeque

Moving through a backyard or field but not lingering

Breaking into an empty pet kennel with attractants


Bears are attracted to properties because they are looking for food.  It is recommended citizens follow the attraction management recommendations.

  • Store garbage properly
  • Clean garbage containers with strong cleanser
  • Remove all bird feeders during foraging period
  • No sweets or meats in composter
  • Pick fruit as it ripens-don’t let it rot on ground
  • Freeze meat scraps until day of garbage pickup
  • Clean BBQ regularly
  • Protect livestock feed
  • Use electric fencing for apiaries, fruit trees and landfill sites.
  • Pet food should be brought inside at night
    Once attractant is removed, bears will generally return a few more times – then exclude the area from their foraging.
    More information


  • Bears dislike surprise encounters with people about as much as people dislike surprise encounters with bears
  • Bears are driven to look for food in order to recover from/prepare for hibernation (they do not have a choice)
  • Most people are unaware that they are attracting bears
  • Majority of incidents can be prevented by eliminating attractants


If you encounter a black bear

When bears are caught off guard, they are stressed, and usually just want to flee.

Stop. Do not panic. Remain calm.

Generally, the noisier the bear is, the less dangerous it is, provided you do not approach. The noise is meant to “scare” you off and acts as a warning signal.


  • Slowly back away while keeping the bear in sight and wait for it to leave.
  • If the bear does not leave, throw objects, wave your arms and make noise with a whistle or air horn.
  • Prepare to use bear spray.
  • If you are near a building or vehicle get inside as a precaution.

Do not

  • Run, climb a tree or swim — a bear can do these things much better than you
  • Kneel down
  • Make direct eye contact

Bear warning signs

Black bear attacks are extremely rare. A threatened or predatory black bear will give off warning signs to let you know you are too close. If a black bear stands on its hind legs this is not aggressive behaviour, and the bear is trying to get a better look at you or "catch your scent".

A defensive bear

A bear that feels threatened will:

  • salivate excessively and exhale loudly
  • make huffing, moaning, clacking and popping sounds with its mouth, teeth and jaws
  • lower its head with its ears drawn back while facing you
  • charge forward, and/or swat the ground with its paws (known as a ‘bluff’ charge).

A predatory bear

The bear will approach silently, usually in rural or remote areas, and may continue to approach regardless of your attempts to deter them by yelling or throwing rocks. If the bear attacks:

  • Use bear spray.
  • Fight back with everything you have.
  • Do not play dead unless you are sure a mother bear is attacking in defence of her cubs.

After the bear leaves

  • Report the bear encounter by calling 1-866-514-2327 (TTY 705-945-7641) between April 1 and November 30.
  • Tell your neighbours about bear activity in the area.
  • If the bear was eating non-natural food (such as garbage or bird food), remove or secure the item.

The above information is contained in the below government web site.


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