Nova Scotia advises how to avoid black bears showing up on properties

A black bear is pictured in a field near Antigonish. Pat Pace/Submitted Photo

Nova Scotia is reminding people of measures you can take to prevent a bear showing up to take that picnic basket — or the Sunday roast.

With a healthy population of black bears in Nova Scotia, the province says the omnivores are known to eat a wide variety of food and can be drawn to people’s properties by food odours coming from a compost bin, a garbage container or even a barbecue. The bear will, as a result, see this as a convenient food source and is likely to return more than once.

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According to the province, here are some tips to avoid welcoming an unexpected visitor:

  • Store green bins and garbage containers in a shed until morning pickup
  • Turn garden compost piles often and add lime to reduce the odour
  • Food waste that gives off a particularly pungent smell, such as fish or lobster shells, should be frozen until collection day and then put into the green bin
  • Don’t use a bird feeder during bear season, which runs from April until October
  • After each use, burn off your barbecue grill at high temperatures and make sure to clean the grill often
  • Pet food bowls should be kept indoors
  • As soon as they’re ripe, pick fruit from trees
  • Even on hot weather days, keep your windows closed to avoid a bear smelling what you’re cooking

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If a bear is spotted on your property, or there are signs a bear is nearby, work with your neighbours to eliminate bear attractants.

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Should you still encounter a bear, here are some tips:

  • Stay at a distance and move away
  • If a bear knows you are there, it will usually move away so make some noise
  • Do not block any escape routes for the bear
  • Give bears respect and treat them as if they may become aggressive. Though they are looking for food, you should still be cautious.

There have been no recorded bear attacks in Nova Scotia, but the province says the potential still exists.

If you still have bear problems or you come across a bear that is aggressive, you should contact your local Department of Natural Resources office or call 1-800-565-2224 if after hours.

For more information, you can visit the Nova Scotia website.

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