Seeing a bear is a memorable experience, but your safety and the survival of bears greatly depends on your actions. Serious injuries caused by bears are rare, but the potential for conflict always exists. Please consider reviewing these three important messages, and then investigate the links below for more information about how you can safely live and work on the landscape with bears:

  • Always keep a safe distance from wildlife. Never intentionally get close to a bear.
  • Stay alert and look for bear activity, especially where visibility or hearing is limited (woods, bushy areas, streams).
  • Travel in a group. Groups of people are usually noisier and less likely to surprise bears.
  • Make noise by talking or clapping, especially when visibility or hearing are limited.
  • Carry bear spray in an accessible place and know how to use it.
  • Avoid traveling at night, dawn, or dusk.
  • Avoid carcass sites and evidence of carcasses (such as groups of scavenger birds).
  • Anyone moving quickly (i.e. mountain biker, trail runner) is at a higher risk of surprising a bear.
  • Never feed wildlife, especially bears. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose a threat to human safety.
  • Bears are curious and food driven.
  • Feeding bears puts people and bears at risk.
  • Securing food and garbage means keeping it in an approved bear resistant container (locked car, bear box, bear resistant garbage can, etc.) See for list of approved products.
  • During an encounter with a bear:
    • Never run away. You cannot outrun a bear. Running may trigger a bear to chase.
    • Never approach a bear.
  • In any bear encounter, your behavior matters. Bears respond to your actions. Both grizzly bears and black bears pose a risk. The bear’s behavior should determine your response. Different situations call for different responses. Click here to learn more about bear behavior.
  • Carry bear spray in an accessible place and know how to use it.

Depending on where you are, please visit these important partner websites: