Bears and You
The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is one of the largest and most impressive animals found in Saskatchewan’s provincial parks. Despite their ‘Walt Disney’ or cartoon image, all bears are potentially dangerous and should be treated with respect. It is up to you, as a visitor in bear country, to minimize the conflicts that can arise when bears and humans share the same territory.
Keep your campsite from attracting black bears.
Follow these simple rules:
- Never leave food, coolers or garbage unattended. When not in use, store these items in your unit or vehicle. Even food items like open pop cans and sunflower seeds will attract a black bear.
- Dispose of your garbage as soon as possible in the designated areas. If you are unable to do so right away, place it in a safe place (the trunk of your vehicle or inside you RV unit.
- Do not leave any of these items inside a tent or tent trailer – bears will tear through them.
- Do not hang any of these items on a tree – bears are excellent climbers.
- Dispose of grease and cooking water in the toilets. Do not dump it on the ground or vegetation.
- If a bear enters your campsite, go immediately to a safe place and report it to the park staff or call Park Watch at 1-800-667-1788.
By keeping your campsite clean, you help to protect wildlife, respect the law and avoid a ticket.
Bears are scavengers; they will investigate anything that looks like a potential meal. Around campgrounds, some bears have learned to associate people with food and have lost their natural fear of humans. Proper food storage, cooking methods and garbage handling are essential for safe camping in bear country.
In a campground:
- Never cook or eat in your tent.
- Store food in air-tight containers in the trunk of your vehicle, not in tents or tent trailers.
- Place all garbage in the containers provided by the park. Do not burn or bury scraps.
- Clean fish only at designated fish-cleaning stations.
- Keep your pet on a leash or inside your vehicle. An unleashed dog may aggravate a bear.
- Use a flashlight at night; do not move about the campsite at night unless necessary.
If a Bear Enters the Campground:
- Stay calm; do not run.
- Do not harass or chase the bear. If the bear is at a distance, calmly place all food in your vehicle.
- Get into your vehicle and report the incident to a park officer.
In the backcountry:
- Cook at least 100m downwind from your tent.
- Cache your food in air-tight containers, preferably suspended from a tree (at least 4m up and 1m away from the tree trunk and 400m from your campsite).
- Pitch your tent in the open, away from dense bush, streams and game trails.
- Leave your pack outside with flaps open.
- Stay on trails and make noise as you walk by whistling or singing to warn bears of your presence.
- Look for any signs of bear activity, such as tracks, droppings and digging; they indicate that bears may be in the area.
- Be especially cautious if your visibility or hearing is obstructed by dense bush or running streams.
- Always supervise small children in any area bears inhabit.
- Avoid areas of bear food sources such as berry and carcass remains.
- Dispose of dishwater away from your campsite and do not bury any fish remains.
Encountering a Bear
- Never feed or approach a bear or cubs.
- Make a wide detour if you see a bear at a distance. Do not get too close to a bear for the sake of a photograph.
- If you suddenly encounter a bear, calmly back away, speak in low tones and do not look directly at the bear.
- Stay calm – do not run. You cannot outrun a bear.
- As a last resort when a bear is very close, dropping your pack or other articles may distract the bear.
- Move towards a tree or rock which may protect you from a bear. Climbing a tree is not an escape but the bear may feel less threatened. Black bears can easily climb trees.
- In almost all cases, a black bear will threaten but will not attack. If an attack does occur and no escape is possible, you should defend yourself.
Please take the time to report all bear incidents and observations to a park officer promptly.
The surest protection against injury or damage to your property is prevention.
Never feed bears or leave food for a bear – you will invite trouble for yourself and for the next campers. Bears that have been fed lose their natural fear of humans. When bears start to associate their food with humans, they become a nuisance. Bears usually have to be destroyed when this occurs. Do not become the cause of a bear’s destruction. It is unlawful to feed bears.
Through its bear management program, Saskatchewan provincial parks attempt to keep conflicts between bears and humans to a minimum. With your cooperation, bears and people will continue to coexist in harmony within the boundaries of our provincial parks.
You Are In Black Bear Territory
Please remember that you may be fined if you:
- Feed / harass wildlife
- Fail to keep your campsite in a clean state
- Leave food / coolers / garbage unattended
Please help us protect people and black bears in Duck Mountain Provincial Park.