Bear Safety

People and Bears Can Live Together

It’s Our Personal Responsibility

The black bear is a long-time resident of Big Canoe and one of our most prevalent forms of wildlife. As Big Canoe continues to develop and encroach on wildlife habitat, the need for people and bears to coexist safely increases. Whether you are hiking or strolling through the neighborhoods, you may encounter a black bear. Black bears are most active from mid-March to November, but remain active during the winter months if non-natural foods are available. Their constant search for new food sources may draw them to your home. The residents of Big Canoe have chosen to live in harmony with their bears. We want our community to allow for bear activity, so that bears can pass through, but are not tempted to stop and get into trouble with people and their non-natural attractants. 

Some Simple Bear Rules

  • Dispose of household garbage in designated compactor sites. 
  • Keep garbage securely inside prior to disposal – minimizing odors.
  • Keep doors and windows closed and locked. Food smells can invite hungry bears inside your home.
  • Do not store food of any kind outside, even if it is inside a locked refrigerator or freezer.
  • Feed your pets indoors and store their food inside. Don’t leave dog bones lying around your yard.
  • Don’t leave trash, groceries, pet food, coolers or any odorous items in your car.
  • Bird Feeders strictly prohibited March 1 - December 1. Bird feeders permitted from December 1 - March 1 but discouraged. There is up to a $5,000 fine for feeding wildlife intentionally or unintentionally. 
  • Clean the barbeque grill immediately after use, wash and store it covered away from the wind. 

Respect Bears

If you see a bear in a residential area, act responsibly! Remain calm; often the bear is just passing through, and if it finds no food, will simply move on. Keep well away. Do not crowd the bear –give it plenty of space. Warn others to be respectful. Bring small children and untrained pets inside. Let the bear know it is not welcome. Do not allow the bear to feel comfortable in your backyard. After ensuring the bear has a safe avenue of escape , make lots of noise to encourage the bear to leave. 

Be Scents-Ible About Bears

Bears live to eat, consuming up to 25,000 calories a day (10 times more than the average person). While they prefer natural vegetation, they will eat almost anything and will do almost anything to obtain food. Big Canoe is located in the midst of prime bear country. Therefore, we all have to be extra careful with what we leave accessible to bears. 

Bears have a keen sense of smell and are driven to investigate. They are attracted by scents as diverse as vinyl and citronella. Bears learn quickly and will repeat behavior that leads to food rewards. Carelessly stored garbage, birdfeeders, or unclean barbeque grills are open invitations to bears.

Bears in pursuit of an easy meal may damage property or in rare cases injure people. Paying attention to common household activities will reduce encounters and contribute to a Bear Smart community.