Bear Proofing Your Home and Campsite

Bear Proofing Your Home and Campsite

Kathryn Wright
Aug 6, 2010

Around this time of year bears become a problem around my area. The berries are fragrant and ripe and food scraps left in garbage cans become very pungent in the summer heat. The bears are looking to bulk up for winter and start to feel comfortable coming down the mountainside to look for food. Some have even been known to enter homes with open doors. (Tragically this almost never ends well for the bears.) I thought I would share some important tips to try help preserve the lives of bears and people.

I personally feel very strongly about preserving the lives of bears and become incredibly frustrated when people neglect to do a few basic things to try to detract them. Bears are incredibly complex and sensitive creatures, and when they meet up with humans, it almost always ends badly and usually the bear is the one that suffers the most.

  1. The most basic thing you can do is to store food in a sealed container. Many campsites offer bear safes, but for the ones that don't, make sure all of your food is in a cooler or indoors. If you are camping, you can also suspend food and garbage in bags about 15 feet about ground and about 10 feet away from the tree trunk.
  2. Don't leave garbage or dirty dishes around. Make sure that garbage is in a bear-proof garbage can or if none are around, again make use of your cooler or keep it indoors. Bears are also attracted to toothpaste, so it's best to keep it sealed in a plastic container deep inside your bag.
  3. Don't put your garbage out for pick-up overnight. In residential areas this is a particularly important guideline. If everyone waited until morning to put out their garbage it would save the lives of many bears each year.
  4. Make noise. Bears are generally timid and gentle. They prefer to stay away from humans and noise will usually deter them.
  5. Keep bear spray. In spite of their gentle nature some bears can become aggressive without warning and bear spray could save your life.

(Image: Grant the Grizzly Bear Embroidery, from

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