What to do when encountering a bear on the trail

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Recently, we received an interesting question from Moosomin Regional Park. Trail officials noted that there are bears in the park on occasion and they like hanging around the trails as that’s where it’s the quietest and there’s the largest supply of berries. Because of this, some people are worried to use the trails because they’re concerned about encountering bears.

Encountering a bear is something that is certainly possible while exploring the province’s trail system. So what should you do in the event of an encounter? The Government of Saskatchewan has a document called Living in Bear Country that provides some great information: http://publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/66/89520-English.pdf

Another point not brought up in the document is the use of bells. Upon contacting the STA, Moosomin noted that it had received suggestions to hand out “bear” bells. They were told the noise can cause the bears to leave the area. This question prompted an interesting discussion among the STA board of directors.

The STA would like to stress that there is no evidence to support, in any way, that bells they will deter a bear encounter. Bringing a bell on a hike will only provide a false sense of security. The STA advises that talking in normal voices will normally move the bears away from human contact. If the bears are habituated to humans and do not move away or have had access to garbage, we would suggest you contact the local conservation officers to possibly set up a trap and relocate the bear. If you administrate a trail where there have been beer sightings, you may want to post signs at trail access points and\or trail heads.

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