To Report Bear Problems

To report a bear problems: contact the Bear Reporting Line at: 1866-514-2327 or 705-945-7641

In a life-threatening emergency, call your local police or 911.


Know the language of black bears

If you by chance encounter a black bear it may:

  • Stand on its hind legs to get a better look at you
  • Salivate excessively, exhale loudly, and make huffing, moaning, clacking and popping sounds with its mouth, teeth and jaws
  • Lower its head with its ears drawn back while facing you
  • Charge forward, and/or swat the ground with its paws. This is also known as a bluff charge

Generally, the noisier the bear is, the less dangerous it is provided you don’t approach the bear. These are all warning signals bears give to let you know you are too close. When bears are caught off guard, they are stressed, and usually just want to flee.

What to do – Surprise and Close Encounters

  • Remain calm. Do not run. Stand still and talk to the bear in a calm voice
  • Arm your pepper spray
  • Do not try to get closer to the bear
  • If the bear does not get closer to you, slowly back away, talking to the bear in a quiet, monotone voice. Do not scream, turn your back on the bear, run, kneel down or make direct eye contact
  • Watch the bear and wait for it to leave
  • If the bear does not leave or approaches you, yell and wave your arms to make yourself look bigger. Throw objects, blow a whistle or an air horn. The idea is to persuade the bear to leave
  • If you are with others, stay together and act as a group. Make sure the bear has a clear escape route
  • If the bear keeps advancing, and is getting close, stand your ground. Use your bear pepper spray (if the bear is within seven metres) or anything else you can find or use to threaten or distract the bear
  • Do not run or climb a tree

About attacks

Black bear attacks are extremely rare. A black bear may attack if:

  • It perceives you to be a threat to it, its cubs or it may be defending food. This is a defensive bear that wants more space between you and it. Such attacks are exceedingly rare although a bear’s aggressive display may seem to suggest otherwise
  • It is a predatory bear. These bears are also very rare. Predatory attacks usually occur in rural or in remote areas. Predatory bears approach silently, and may continue to approach regardless of your attempts to deter them by yelling or throwing rocks

What to do if an encounter results in an attack

  • Use your pepper spray
  • Fight back with everything you have
  • Do not play dead except in the rare instance when you are sure a mother bear is attacking you in defense of cubs
For additional information refer to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources website.