Be bear aware when out on the land

Conservation officers are reminding the public bears are awake and active. Whether people are outside hiking, biking, running, canoeing, camping, gardening or staying at a cabin, now is a good time to brush up on bear awareness skills. Yukoners should know how to spot bear presence and what to do if they encounter a bear and always carry bear spray.

In another COVID-19 summer, the Government of Yukon expects to see more Yukoners staying around the territory and enjoying time on the land. To help people prepare, the government will be holding a virtual bear awareness course on Zoom. The focus of the course will be on being bear aware and how to use bear spray. It will take place on May 20 at 6 p.m. Registration is required as only 300 log-ins can be accommodated. Register by emailing coservices@yukon.ca.

The Government of Yukon reminds Yukoners of the following:

  • everywhere in the Yukon is bear country and bears can show up at any time – in the wilderness, camping areas, or residential areas;
  • keep bear spray accessible and know how to use it;
  • always be alert when outside, travel in groups while adhering to physical distancing recommendations, keep children nearby, pets on leash, make noise and carry bear spray;
  • watch for fresh bear signs including tracks, droppings, scratches on trees, and diggings. Leave the area if signs are fresh;
  • deter bears from your property or campsite by managing and storing attractants like food and garbage in bear safe ways. Anything with a scent can attract a bear;
  • do a bear attractant audit of your property and reduce, remove and secure attractants such as recycling, garbage, livestock, chickens, gardens, bird feeders, pet food and compost. Bears’ sense of smell is a lot better than humans – they can detect attractants from very far away; and
  • if you see a bear, stop and remain calm. Get ready to use your bear spray. Determine if the bear is aware of you and respond accordingly.

Living in the Yukon means living in bear country. We have the honour of sharing our space with a large, healthy and active bear population. This also means we have the responsibility to reduce potential human-wildlife conflict. It is important – for our safety and the safety of wildlife – to always be aware of the possible presence of bears when out enjoying the land, to do our part to properly manage attractants, and to give wildlife space when we encounter them.

Minister of Environment Nils Clarke 

Quick facts 
  • Managing attractants, at home or while camping, will reduce human-wildlife conflict. Keep attractants in secure containers, vehicles, hard-sided trailers, bear-proof canisters, locked buildings or behind electric fencing.

  • Yukoners can also learn about bear safety, how to minimize bear attractants and what to do when you encounter a bear at Yukon.ca/bears and on the Conservation Officer Services Branch Facebook page (@yukoncoservices).

  • Call the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525 to report aggressive encounters with wildlife or a bear in a residential area.

Contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications
867-334-9194
renee.francoeur@yukon.ca

Chantelle Rivest
Communications, Environment
867-334-9815
chantelle.rivest@yukon.ca

News release #: 
21-140