How to Stay ‘Bear Aware’ While Out in the Wilderness



It happens every year in late summer when the bears are out and about foraging for whatever they can eat to get their weight on for the upcoming winter. In Banff, Canada, this is also when the Shepherdia (a.k.a. buffalo berries; one of bears’ favorite foods) are ripe. Which means, the bears will be out doing their thing in some of the same areas that people most like to recreate. This can be problematic, and more often than not, it’s the bears who end up suffering the most.

A few years ago, a six-year-old female grizzly bear (Bear 148) was relocated within her home range, and then translocated out of the Bow Valley because of her unfortunate interactions with humans. Shortly after her second, long-distance move, she wandered into British Columbia and was shot—grizzly bear hunting is not illegal in B.C.

Bears have one thing on their mind, food. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Geirman/Unsplash

Yet enjoying nature among the bears is possible, and being a responsible human is the right thing to do. Due to 148’s death, the community worked together to come up with a comprehensive report on Wildlife and Human Coexistence. Although the report was made for the Bow Valley, it contains information that is pertinent for any area where humans and wildlife coexist.

We sat down with Bill Hunt, Resource Conservation Manager for Banff National Park to get tips on how to be “bear aware” in bear habitat.