Bears are an important part of our ecosystem in BC, and it’s important that we do our part to protect them. Powell River is a beautiful place to live, and the bears like it just as much as we do. As humans moved into bear territories, we’ve not only encroached on their living space, but we’ve also introduced things like fruit trees, berry shrubs, and gardens that can seem like an easy food source for bears. 

This time of year, black bears are starting their season of hyperphagia. Hyperphagia is basically a feeding frenzy, and it’s how bears bulk up to survive their winter hibernation. During hyperphagia, a black bear can consume up to 20,000 calories a day. This is critical to keep them safe through the winter. It’s even more important for female bears since they may need to support cubs born during hibernation.

Bear-Proofing Yard

Especially during hyperphagia, our yards and gardens full of luscious fruits, berries, and veggies can seem like an easy place for a bear to tank up. Add in a bbq grill that hasn’t been cleaned properly, outside garbage cans, bird feeders, pet food, and our yards are basically sending out a scent flyer saying “Free All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet!” to bears. 

Bears have an extremely keen sense of smell, amazing eyesight, and an excellent memory. So if they find a smorgasbord and don’t get chased out, they’ll come back again and again. Bears that become accustomed to humans are deemed a nuisance and may be relocated or euthanized. 


How To Make Your Yard Less Attractive to Bears

  • Manage your fruit trees and shrubs. Harvesting fruit from your trees and shrubs quickly is an important part of bear prevention. Make sure to clean up any fallen fruit under your trees and shrubs as well. Their keen noses can detect any amount of ripe or spoiled fruit. 
bear-proof your yard powell river
  • Only feed birds when bears are in hibernation. This basically means your bird feeders should only be up and full between December and March. Make sure you store bird food, seeds or suet, indoors, in sealed containers. When you take your feeders down in March, make sure to clean them well with bleach to eliminate odours and store them indoors. 
  • Feed your pets and store their food indoors only. Pet food is nutrient-dense and highly attractive to bears. Store pet food in sealed containers, and keep it in the house. If you do decide to feed outside, make sure you pick up all evidence of food and take it inside when your pet is finished. 
  • Clean your grill every time you use it. Don’t just scrub down the metal grill, make sure you clean the drip tray and anywhere that any grease may have dripped. Storing your grill away from the house as well, in a garage or shed is better than sitting out in the open.
  • Manage your compost. Open compost piles are like a pile of candy for bears. Sealed compost bins are best, and they should be turned or aerated regularly. Do not add cooked foods, melon rinds, and any meat products to your compost. You can also add horticultural lime to help reduce odours. 
  • Manage your garbage. Use bear safe storage bins for garbage, and don’t set it outside until it’s nearly time for garbage pickup. Double bagging your waste and regularly cleaning your bins with bleach will help to reduce odours as well.
Bear-Proof Your Yard
  • Beehives are like a box of candy for bears. There’s not much you can do to reduce the scent of honey. So if you have beehives, you’re going to need to invest in electric fencing, and likely some other commercial bear deterrent devices. Motion sensing lights, audio devices that trigger loud noises, or sprayers can all be effective deterrents. You may need to employ more than one type. You might even want to explore electric fencing to protect your garden and fruit trees as well.
  • Protect your chickens. If you have chickens, make sure they have a very secure coop and are always kept inside at night. Keep their coop and run clean. 
  • Cleanup when you go indoors. Don’t leave scented items like suntan lotion, bug repellent, candles, and any snacks unattended outside. 
  • Embrace the scent of pine. Bears don’t love the smell of pine-scented cleaning products, so products like pure pine oil, or Pine-Sol can also help make your house and yard an unattractive place. 

 

The bears were here first, and they’re beautiful creatures. In order to keep all of us safe and help us coexist with them, it’s our responsibility to make our homes and yards as unattractive as possible.