I live in bear country. Muskoka has many black bears, and not a year goes by when I haven't seen one or two while driving in the area. Seeing a black bear can be kind of nice, but having black bears around your home and cottage can range from a nuisance to downright scary! If you have a bear on your property see Ontario Bear Wise's site here
Bears at the cottage are almost always drawn by the smells, and promise of a tasty meal. This can be your BBQ grill, garbage, or even your bird feeder in the backyard! Although black bears usually run away from people and dogs, a bear that gets something to eat will always return.
A few simple steps to avoid a potentially dangerous run-in with our large, furry neighbors:
- Clean off your BBQ when done cooking. Don't throw away fruit or other foods in the forest.
- Don't have a bird feeder less than 6-7 ft off the ground or a bear can get to it.
- Keep any compost far from your living space -- or don't compost at all
- Get a bear-proof bin for your garbage and recycling, keep it away from your dwelling, chained or bolted to concrete or a tree.
- Don't leave food in the cottage if you're closing up for the winter. Bears can claw right through siding and wood doors, if lunch is waiting for them!
- DO NOT FEED or approach the bears (this is common sense, but many of us know somebody who might think a bear is nice visitor) --If you have a neighbor who is baiting or feeding animals in Muskoka, call the MNR and report it. There is no such thing as a tame, adult bear.