bear at campsite

Vacationing in bear country?

What to know before you go

If you’re heading out to get away from it all, chances are good you’re heading into bear country. If you don’t live with bears at home (or even if you do), it’s good to get BearWise before you hit the road.

Bears are never on vacation. Bears can’t pack up and get away from people; bears that live in areas that are popular vacation destinations must learn how to make a living while doing their best to avoid both the locals and a steady stream of visitors who often don’t know much about bears.

Bears are always looking for food. They have noses that can smell lunch from a mile away and the tastebuds of the average two-year old; they’ll eat just about anything, including stuff that’s not even food. Some simple precautions will keep bears out of your vehicle, your home away from home and your garbage, leftovers and picnic lunch.

Garbage, Yum!

overflowing dumpstersBears are attracted to trash because it smells great (to a bear) and is usually full of food. Dispose of your trash in a secure container and don’t forget to close and latch the lid. Bears can open unlatched lids with a flip of the paw. Resist the temptation to leave your trash piled up next to the trash can or dumpster; if it’s full, do the bear-responsible thing and take it with you or keep it inside until you can dispose of it properly.

Don’t Toss Your Trash

Throwing food, wrappers or trash out the car window isn’t just messy and illegal; trying to get to your tossed-away goodies can get bears killed. Tossing scraps behind your cabin encourages bears and other unwelcome critters to hang around homes and investigate. Bears are smart. They usually figure out there’s probably more food where that came from.

Dogs + Bears = Problems

dog on leash iconWhile it is rare for a black bear to injure someone, many incidents with bears involve people walking or hiking with dogs.

  • If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the woods, the safest thing to do is leave your pet at home.
  • If you choose to bring your dog to bear country, keep your pet on a non-retractable leash whenever you are outdoors, even if you’re just going from your cabin to the car or letting the dog out in an unfenced area.
  • Letting your dog approach or bark aggressively at a bear might make you feel safe, but in reality you’re putting yourself and your pet in danger.

Read the full article ...

  • Guard Your Stuff
  • Discourage Break-Ins
  • If You Encounter a Bear

Get BearWise.
Have Fun.
Go Home Happy.

On behalf of all the bears and all the people who live where you’re going, thanks for taking the time to find out how to have a great vacation in bear country. You’ll be helping to keep bears wild, you and your family safe and visitors welcome.
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BearWise - Created by bear biologists. Supported by state wildlife agencies.
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