It is against the law to feed wild animals. A simple bag of garbage, bowl of pet food, or plate of leftovers can cause severe harm to wildlife. Black bears by nature are fearful of humans, but if people turn them into addicts of human food and garbage, the same bears can become aggressive.

Bear Facts

The American black bear is a medium size bear, weighing between 130 and 660 pounds. The black bear can vary in color from black, chocolate brown, cinnamon brown, pale blue (also called Glacier bears) to white (also called Kermode bears). They usually will have a brown muzzle, a light patch of fur on their chest, and curved claws on their feet.

Black bears prefer forested areas away from brown bears, their biggest competitor. Black bears are omnivores, which means they eat nuts, berries, fruits, acorns, roots, grasses, other plants, insects (especially
ants), deer and moose fawns ,carrion, and salmon. Black bears usually travel alone, except females with bear cubs. (This information is provided by the American Zoo & Aquarium Association Bear Advisory Group).

At Home, Do

  • Clear unnecessary brush, rocks, and wood piles from your home
  • Feed your pets indoors or pick up uneaten food as soon as your pet is finished
  • Keep tight covers on sturdy garbage cans
  • Put trash out on collection days at the latest opportunity
  • Have adequate fencing (to keep your pets in and wildlife out)
  • Install motion sensor lights
  • Vaccinate your dog and cat for rabies

At Home, Don’t

  • Leave your cats or small dogs unattended
  • Make a pet out of your visitor
  • Feed or otherwise encourage a bear’s dependency on humans
  • Allow your pets to run loose
  • Use plastic bags as trash containers
  • Put trash out long before the scheduled pickup

What To Do

  • Be alert where recent bear activity has been reported
  • Use extreme caution when traveling on trails in the early morning hours or at night
  • Watch for bear tracks
  • Make plenty of noise to scare bears away
  • If you see a bear cub, leave the area
  • Keep dogs under control – dogs can lead an angry bear back to you
  • Remain calm and call the appropriate agency if you are threatened