A Beary Special Edition:
Our Neighbour the Black Bear
rumbling stomach....Much of what drives a bear is its' hunger. Typically black bears will avoid human interaction but may wander onto campsites or into backyards occasionally when in search of a meal. Bears prefer to forage for berries, but will resort to rummaging through trash cans when wild nut and berry crops are scarce.
If you don't want any bears in your backyard, remember that pet food, compost, barbecues and bird feeders are all an easy and attractive snack for a hungry bear. Try not to leave any of the above mentioned outside overnight, but if you are make sure to properly store and secure them.
Black bears are very intelligent creatures. If you provide an easy snack for them once, they will return when the forest can't provide for their needs
When hiking or camping, let the bears know you are there, chat it up, sing along, tell some jokes, blow your whistle, etc. Also, make sure not to leave out any trash and to tie all food from trees or lock it away in your car.
Also, always keep a black garbage bag handy. Most bears will retreat before you ever even know they were there, but if you do encounter a black bear, you should definitely remain calm. More often than not they're just curious and will wander off on their own, but don't stick around and watch. On the flip side, running away may startle the bear, so rather than sprint like you're late for work, carefully back away while banging on your air-filled bag overhead, which should make you appear very large and scary to them!
Black bears may appear frightening, but full-blown attacks from them are in reality quite rare. If you take time to learn about them it becomes clear that they are virtually harmless. There are few documented cases of attacks, but in those instances bears were teased with food or more often than not injured. We often assume that when a bear stands on its' hind legs it is preparing for an attack, but that is untrue. Although it is quite intimidating, most bears do this as a means to see further in the distance. (Just imagine how difficult it would be to see into the distance on your hands and knees!).
Bears have colour vision and see just like you and me!
To put things in perspective, for every death from a black bear there are approximately 17 deaths from spiders, 25 deaths from snakes, 67 deaths from dogs, 150 deaths from tornadoes, 180 deaths from bees and wasps, 374 deaths from lightning, and 90,000 homicides in the United States alone. (National Center for Health Statistics)